The University of Dallas baseball team finished its three game series against Blackburn College with a 10-6 loss on March 12.
“[It’s] easy as it is to say ‘we lost this game,’” said head coach Joe Myers. “[However] we still won the series, which our goal every weekend is to win a series, two out of three.”
The Crusaders struck first in the second inning behind sloppy defensive play by the Beavers. Junior catcher Jessup Scott led off the inning with a single to right field, advanced to second on a balk by pitcher Tyler Durand and then advanced to third and scored on a pair of wild pitches.
The Beavers took the lead in the top of the third on a bases loaded walk to third baseman Shane Lewis and a bases load hit-by-pitch by right fielder Walter Jarvis.
The Crusaders answered in the bottom of the third, taking advantage of more clumsy defensive play by the Beavers. Junior center fielder Jordan Stickler led off the inning with a walk. Junior shortstop Josh Abalos reached first on shortstop Brandon Smith’s fielding error, advancing Stickler to third. After Abalos advanced to second, Stickler scored on sophomore third baseman Nathan Patton’s RBI single to tie the game. The Crusaders then retook the lead as junior first baseman Mark Peterson reached on a Smith throwing error, scoring Abalos and advancing Patton to third. Scott drove in Patton with a sacrifice bunt to Durand to extend the UD lead to 4-2.
The Crusaders scored another run in the bottom of the 4th on another error, this time on first baseman Ryan Steen.
Dallas ran into trouble in the top of the fifth, falling victim to their own errors. Senior pitcher Abraham Griesbauer entered the game as relief for freshman Andrew Magness. After a leadoff walk, center fielder Nathan Bassett advanced to second on a wild pitch and then to third on junior right fielder Enrique Vigil’s fielding error, also allowing batter Shane Lewis to reach first. Bassett scored on the next playwhen Scott dropped a throw from Patton that allowed Bassett to score. The Crusaders seemed like they were going to get out of the inning relatively unscathed as Steen grounded into a double play. However, catcher Ry Clark singled in Lewis, and designated hitter Michael McDermand hit a two-run home run to put Blackburn ahead 6-5. The home run was McDermand’s first home run of the season.
“You hope when you get into those scenarios, a double play ball is always your quick out, and then it’s closing the door, and we didn’t close the door,” said Myers. “Those innings that have walks and errors, and you miss spots pitching wise… when you make a mistake the game is going to beat you up good, no matter what you do to get out of it.”
The Crusaders surrendered another four runs in the top of the sixth. Second baseman Brady Wilkinson led off the inning with a double, Smith reached on a bunt single, advancing Wilkinson to third, and Bassett singled to left, scoring Wilkinson. After Lewis singled to center to load the bases, sophomore pitcher Nick Goehring came in to relieve Griesbauer. Goehring fought through the inning, inducing Jarvis to ground into a fielder’s choice, allowing an RBI single to Steen, and causing Clark to hit into a sacrifice fly. Goehring then struckout McDermand to end the inning. Goehring finished the game for the Crusaders, and ended with a line of four innings pitched, 2 hits, no runs, no walks, and 4 strikeouts.
“We were only planning on throwing [Goehring] an inning or two,” said Myers. “But when you get a pitcher on the mound and he’s throwing strikes and he’s keeping our defense on their toes… when a guy’s doing that you’re just going to ride him and say ‘hey, keep us here’ and ‘keep doing what you’re doing’ and hopefully our offense comes back and steps up. [They] were big innings for him, and he’ll be getting more as the season goes on.”
In the bottom of the eighth, sophomore Seth Hanson brought the score to 10-6 with a solo home run over the left field wall. The home run was Hanson’s second of the series, and his third of the season.
“Now it’s basically a new season with conference play coming up.” said Myers. “My message to the team was this first half of the season is already in the past and now we focus on being an 0-0 team and Centenary is 0-0. I don’t think we’re going to be too hard on ourselves for this loss… Once we step back on the field for practice on Wednesday it’s conference opening week.”
The loss drops the Crusaders to 7-9 in the season and 5-1 at home. Dallas continues its homestand by beginning conference play with a three game series against Centenary College of Louisiana on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17. Game times will be on Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 3 p.m.