Baseball wins season opener

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Sophomore Joe Vondrachek plays shortstop. Photo courtesy of UD Athletics.

The University of Dallas baseball team won their season-opening series this past Groundhog weekend against Sul Ross State University. This series marks the first set of games with the club under the head coaching of Erik Grafton.

“I think being able to win the first series is a big boost to our momentum going forward,” sophomore first baseman and pitcher Zach Taylor said. “Taking two of three from Sul Ross is huge.”

Saturday kept the Crusaders busy as they faced a double-header against the visiting Lobos.

UD started off slowly in game one, down 3-1 in the second inning. In the bottom of the second, Dallas’ bats erupted for five runs, putting them up 6-3. The Crusaders plated two more in the final frame, bringing the final score to 8-5.

Taylor, along with junior outfielder Luke Boylson, led the offense for Dallas, each hitting a home run with five runs batted between them.

Sophomore Conrad Voss earned his first win of the season, striking out two and giving up three runs on six hits. Freshman Jamie Wallace notched his first save of the season in 1 2/3 innings of relief.

“We really set the tone on what we are capable of doing,” Wallace said. “This was a big win for us, and we are hungry for more.”

The Crusaders were not so fortunate in game two, as the Lobos exploded for 15 runs in the first three innings. The Crusaders only managed four hits in the shortened game and eventually fell by 16-0.

Senior catcher Paul Scioli managed two base hits in the contest, with fellow seniors Jordan Stickler and Joe Griesbauer also earning base hits.

Looking for a fresh start after splitting Saturday’s double header, UD flipped the script on Sul Ross, dominating the season finale with a 13-2 win.

“Every single player on the team had a major part in the series win,” Wallace said.

Senior second baseman Josh Abalos scored a team-high four Dallas runs, and added a stolen base. Taylor crossed the plate twice while pitching four innings and only giving up one hit. Meanwhile, Boylson picked up where he left off in game one, driving in three runs and scoring twice. Wallace picked up the win in game three, giving up two runs on six hits and striking out three.

“My biggest thing I can take away from this weekend is the ability to wash a bad game, like game two, down the drain, and be able to come out and deliver that same blow back at them,” Taylor said. “It really puts our team’s toughness on display.”

The Crusaders head out this upcoming weekend for another three-game series against the University of the Ozarks in Arkansas. Baseball comes back to Irving on Feb. 16 with a three-game series against LeTourneau University.

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