By Brian Hula
The University of Dallas baseball team snapped its 14-game losing streak by splitting a pair of games against Austin College this past weekend. The Crusaders lost the first game of Saturday’s double-header 2-1 but then won the second contest by a score of 9-4.
The Crusaders were scheduled to play a game the previous Tuesday against LeTourneau University, but the game was canceled due to threatening weather. As a result, the Crusaders had an entire week to prepare for their series against the Austin College ‘Roos. UD began the first game with a strong showing, posting five runs in the second inning alone. After the ‘Roos committed two errors to allow the Crusaders to score their first two runs, seniors Trevor Keele and Anthony Armstrong both hit RBI singles to add to the lead.
Although Austin College scored on a balk in the bottom of the third inning, the Crusaders responded by posting two more runs in the top of the fourth to take a commanding 7-1 lead. Keele had another RBI single, and senior Jake Pierce made a RBI sacrifice fly to drive in those two runs. The Crusaders scored another run in the fifth inning when senior Luciano Villanueva hit a ground ball to bring fellow senior Hunter Berry across home plate. The Crusaders posted their last run of the game in the sixth inning when sophomore Avery Arnold also hit a ground ball to drive in a run, giving the Crusaders a 9-1 advantage. Although the ‘Roos went on to score once in the sixth inning and twice in the eighth, the Crusaders’ strong offensive performance in the first game allowed them to claim a 9-4 victory.
In contrast to the first game, the second contest was characterized by strong pitching performances from both teams. Although the Crusaders did not record a hit until the sixth inning, the Crusaders’ pitcher, senior Martin Cronin, allowed only three hits to the ‘Roos during that time to keep the game scoreless. The Crusaders claimed a 1-0 lead at the top of the seventh inning on a solo home run by Armstrong. However, the ‘Roos tied the game in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single and claimed a walk-off win by hitting another RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Senior Nolan Kipp credited the Crusaders’ batting for carrying them in the first game.
“Our offense was finally able to string some hits together and put some runs across,” he said. Kipp also gave credit to the home squad for their clutch performance at the end of the second game.
“The ‘Roos had some timely hitting when it [counted],” Kip said.
Weather once again played a factor in the Crusaders’ schedule, postponing the third game of the series against Austin College that was scheduled for Sunday afternoon. The UD baseball team will finish out the regular season with a three-game home series against Arlington Baptist College scheduled for April 24 and 25.