Baseball brings the heat and sweeps on cold weekend

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IRVING, TX - FEBRUARY 10: UDallas junior Jordan Stickler (11) slides into home plate in the baseball game between UDallas and the Mississippi University for Women on February 10, 2018. (Anthony Mazur/AM News Net)

The University of Dallas baseball team played their first home series of the season on Friday and Saturday with three games against the Owls of The Mississippi University for Women. Though the fourth game on Sunday was cancelled due to freezing weather, the Crusaders brought the heat and swept the opposing team to even out their record for the season at 3-3.

The scoring got started on Friday with sophomore third baseman Nathan Patton reaching base and junior first baseman Mark Peterson scoring him with a double. After the Owls responded in the fourth inning with a run of their own, the Crusaders struck back in the fifth with two runs to retake the lead 3-1. Junior right fielder Enrique Vigil and junior shortstop Josh Abalos both hit singles to drive in unearned runs. The only error for the Owls in the game happened during the fifth inning.

The owls had an excessive amount of walks, as seven out of eight of them during Friday’s game were issued in the seventh inning. The Crusaders took advantage of it and scored a whopping nine runs in the inning to seal the game for good. Freshman reliever Dylan Barr made his debut for the Crusaders during the eighth inning when the Owls tried to fight their way back into the game by scoring three runs, but ultimately came up short in a 12-4 victory for the home team.

The Crusaders played the second game of the series on Saturday with another dominating performance. Sophomore starting pitcher Conrad Voss pitched five innings to earn his first win of the season, and the offense backed him with ten of their eleven runs of the game scored in the first three innings.

Junior center fielder Jordan Stickler got the scoring started in the first inning by drawing a walk. After stealing second, Abalos was also issued a walk, and a double steal put runners on second and third. Patton struckout, and junior first baseman Mark Peterson hit a single to score the first run of the game. Junior catcher Jessup Scott followed with a triple to center field, and an error occurred which allowed them to score another run.

The Crusaders scored two more runs in the second to take a 4-0 advantage, as sophomore second baseman Seth Hanson walked to start the frame. After junior designated hitter Joseph Griesbauer struckout, Vigil hit a triple to score Hanson from first. Stickler then walked and stole second to put runners at second and third. Abalos hit an RBI double and Stickler was forced out at third as Vigil scored.

Another six runs were scored in the third frame by the Crusaders, as Jessup Scott walked and reached third base on an error to start the frame. After Boylson and Hanson struckout, Griesbauer singled to score Scott from third, and Vigil was walked to put runners on first and second. After a double steal Stickler walked to load the bases.  Abalos then hit an RBI single, Patton followed with an RBI double, and Patton reached third as Abalos scored from third on a wild pitch for the fifth run of the frame. Peterson then walked to put runners on first and third, and Scott came up again and hit an RBI single.

The Owls responded in the fifth inning with two runs of their own as the Crusaders committed three errors during that frame.

“Obviously, playing in the cold is not the ideal weather conditions we want to play in,” Patton said. “The weather did not affect us too much. We still had to get two wins that day. The weather somewhat affected fielding, but we all had to overcome that.”

The Crusaders scored their eleventh run in the fifth inning to seal the game for good. The Owls tried to fight their way back with two more runs in the sixth, but it was not enough to prevent the Crusaders from earning their second win of the season, an 11-4 victory.

The third game of the series on Saturday was a comeback victory. The Crusaders started the scoring in the first once again as Abalos was hit by a pitch, and Patton walked to put runners at first and second. After a flyout to deep center, sophomore designated hitter Zachary Taylor walked to load the bases. A passed ball scored Abalos from third, but Patton got caught out at home to end the inning.

The Owls responded with four runs in the third inning and a run in the fifth, but the Crusaders scored two runs in the fourth and fifth to even the game at five a piece after five innings of play.

The deciding factor of the game came in the bottom of the seventh when Enrique Vigil hit a triple.

“In my head, I was thinking my sole purpose is to get on base and let someone drive me in,” Vigil said. “I stayed up the middle and drove the ball into the right field gap both times. I eventually scored both times with both triples. That mentality of not being selfish ended up letting us win the second game with a walk off.”

Jordan Stickler then walked and stole second, and Josh Abalos walked to load the bases. Nathan Patton came up and hit a deep fly ball that hit the center field wall for a single and scored the sixth run of the game, earning the comeback victory as teammates mobbed each other in the field.

“Going up to bat I was just trying to do a job, which was win the game,” Patton said.  “I knew the pitcher had a decent curveball and I was hunting the fastball. He missed with his curveball, so I knew he was going to throw a fastball. I got the pitch I wanted and I handled it.”

The Crusaders will continue the season on the road with two games against Howard Payne University on Saturday. The first game of the doubleheader begins at 12:00 p.m.

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