By Brendan Luke
This past weekend in a three-game, non-conference weekend series against the Trinity University Tigers, the University of Dallas men’s baseball team struggled to keep up with the tenacity of its opponents. The team did its best to rally, but ultimately lost the first two games on Saturday. Game one started off strong with an RBI single from senior infielder Nolan Kipp in the top of the second. This strength carried through, aided by crucial runs in the fourth and seventh innings that kept the Crusaders in the game until the top of the ninth, when RBIs from junior outfielder Tug McRoberts and senior infielder and right-handed pitcher (RHP) Trevor Keele put the team in the lead 4-3.
The Tigers, however, were nonplussed by the Crusaders’ performance, and they brought in two runs on a Crusader throwing mishap after Trinity’s Connor Moore hit a double. UD senior RHP Martin Cronin received a no decision, walking two and striking out three after six innings. Sophomore RHP Blake Palmer threw two no-score innings, and Keele stepped in to finish in the ninth for a disappointing Crusader loss of 6-5.
The second game started out with major setbacks for the Crusaders, as Trinity handily scored three runs in the first inning. Sophomore RHP Ryan Hammonds pitched the first six, sustaining five runs and three walks and working five punch-outs. Sophomore RHP William Marshall pitched well, and a pair of RBIs by Keele put the Crusaders back in the game at a slight 3-2 deficit. Trinity came back with two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh for a Crusader loss of 7-3, despite a last-ditch attempt at recovery with an RBI by senior infielder and RHP Luciano Villanueva in the seventh. Game two was made difficult by Trinity’s pitching staff, which performed well late in the game, striking out five and walking only one.
The Crusaders tried to maintain optimism going into the third game of the weekend, but spirits were low. Despite hits by sophomore infielder Alex Stack and Villanueva, the Crusaders failed to match up to the Tigers’ astounding 17 hits, losing the third game of the series with a score of 12-0. Errors on the field and in pitching contributed to the loss on Sunday.
The team will be on the road again on Wednesday to LeTourneau University in Longview before returning home for a three-game series against Schreiner University on Feb 28-March 1.