University of Dallas baseball took part in the NCC-Saluki Tournament at Southern Illinois University this past weekend, winning two of the three games.
“We were feeling confident going into this weekend series,” said junior infielder Seth Hanson. “We knew the trip was going to be a long one but we all looked forward to playing at the D1 facilities that SIU has to offer.”
Friday featured a blowout win for the Crusaders against Blackburn University, ending in a 14-2 score in seven innings.
“Getting a win in the first game of a weekend is huge for us. It gives you the momentum and sets us up for a weekend win,” senior catcher Jessup Scott said. “It felt great getting off to such a positive start.”
Dallas jumped out to a four run lead in the top of the first inning, with Scott, senior outfielder Luke Boylson, and senior outfielder Paul Scioli driving in the runs.
UD tacked on four more runs over the next five innings before exploding again for six runs in the sixth inning, accented by a two-RBI single by senior outfielder Jordan Stickler. Scott and senior first baseman Mark Peterson each doubled and drove in a run as well.
Stickler finished the day with three RBI and a stolen base, while junior pitcher Zachary Taylor and junior third baseman Nathan Patton both crossed the plate three times.
Taylor pitched five innings in the win, striking out eight and holding Blackburn to two runs on three hits. Taylor moves to 2-0 on the season.
Freshman Kyle Neel tossed three innings of one-hit baseball in relief and struck out two.
Dallas could not keep the runs coming in game two Saturday afternoon, as they faced an 8-1 setback against North Central College (NCC).
The Cardinals held UD scoreless until the eighth frame when Scott drove in freshman shortstop Michael Jaquez with a single through the right side of the infield.
Junior Conrad Voss took his first loss of the season, now owning a 3-1 record. Sophomore Tyler Montemayor held NCC to only one hit in two relief innings, striking out two.
“It’s the same as any team. You just learn from the day, flush it and get ready for the next one,” said Scott. “There’s always another game, another pitch and another at bat to be played.”
Looking for redemption on Sunday, the Crusaders edged Wilmington College by a score of 8-5 in the final game of the tournament.
Dallas jumped out to an early lead, scoring six runs in the first two innings.
“Getting an early lead in the game and coming out with high energy is crucial,” said Hansen. “It helps each of the players gain energy and confidence which helps us play more relaxed.”.
After a sacrifice fly from senior second baseman Josh Abalos that scored Stickler, Dallas loaded the bases in the first inning. Scioli earned a walk sending Scott across the plate, senior outfielder Joe Griesbauer walked as well, sending Boylson home to complete the scoring in the first frame.
Stickler and Abalos scored on another single through the right side from Scott in the second inning. Scott would score himself after Griesbauer reached first on an error.
A Boylson homer and an RBI single from Stickler in the fourth inning brought the final two Dallas runs to the plate. Stickler also set a career record with four steals in the contest.
Sophomore Jamie Wallace earned his second win on the season pitching two innings and giving up three hits. Montemayor picked up his second save this year while tossing the final inning.
Dallas has already tied their season record for five saves set back in 2015.
UD now sits at 7-4 this season as they will split a three-game series with Dallas Christian College this upcoming weekend. The Crusaders will host the final two games with a double-header on March 2.
Now in the middle of their 2019 campaign, UD is looking to learn from their past to set up their future.
“We’re fine tuning things right now. We’re off to a great start, we just have to come out every day ready for a dog fight,” said Scott.