The University of Dallas baseball team started a five game road trip with a pair of losses to Howard Payne University on Thursday, Feb. 15. The double header was originally scheduled for Saturday Feb. 17, but due to inclement weather the games were moved up to Thursday. However, this change did not affect the morale of the Crusaders.
“It wasn’t a big deal moving the games up,” said Head Coach Joe Myers. “Everyone was ready to play and excited to play in good weather.”
The Crusaders failed to score in the first inning for the first time all season. Howard Payne, however, scored in the first behind sophomore first baseman Blake Null’s RBI single. The Yellow Jackets scored three in the second and one in the third to build a 5-0 lead before Dallas finally scored in the fourth.
Junior catcher Jessup Scott singled in sophomore third baseman Nathan Patton for the Crusader’s only run in the frame. Patton would score again in the sixth inning on junior first baseman Mark Peterson’s double for UD’s second and final run of the game.
Dallas lost by a final score of 13-2.
Dallas started off better in the second game, scoring twice in the top of the first. Howard Payne came charging back, however, scoring six in the bottom of the inning. The big damage came from Howard Payne sophomore catcher Michael Nowak’s three-run home run, which capped off the Yellow Jackets’ big inning.
Dallas fought back, scoring two runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings. Strong offensive performances of junior shortstop Josh Abalos, Patton, and Peterson, the 2-3-4 hitters in the lineup, kept Dallas in the game. The trio combined for six hits, five runs scored, and four runs batted in. However, Dallas was unable to complete their comeback as the game was called for darkness in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“That game getting cancelled hurts because our offense was hot,” said coach Myers. “That’s why you can’t give up early leads and have to chase from behind. Whether [it] is darkness or the last out, it makes it tough to comeback from a large deficit.”
Dallas lost game two 10-8.
Dallas surrendered 10 runs or more in both games against Howard Payne, and has given up 10 runs or more in 4 of their 8 games this season.
“Our pitching staff is mainly freshmen and sophomores that didn’t get a lot of innings last year,” said coach Myers. “We knew going in to the year there will be some growing pains. They are working and getting better but it takes time.”
The two losses drop the Crusaders’ record to 3-5 so far in the season. Dallas finishes their road trip at the Millsaps Tournament, playing three games from Friday, Feb. 23 to Sunday, Feb. 25. UD will play Concordia University on Friday, Washington University on Saturday, and Millsaps College on Sunday. Game times will be at 12 p.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.