By Brian Hula
After posting a 2-6 record over spring break, the University of Dallas baseball team was swept by Southwestern University in a three-game series over the weekend of March 21-22. The team had played all of its games over the period of spring break on the road, beginning with three games at East Texas Baptist University on March 6 and 7. The navy and white were swept in that series by scores of 11-5, 2-1 and 15-5. On March 10, the Crusaders played two games at Howard Payne University. They dropped both games by scores of 6-2 and 8-4. After this losing streak, the Crusaders rebounded in a three-game series at Schreiner University. The Crusaders split the first two games against the Mountaineers of Schreiner University, losing the first game 7-4 but winning the second game 8-6. The navy and white clinched the series by winning the third game by a score of 5-3. The two wins were keyed by strong performances from seniors Luciano Villanueva and Trevor Keele.
The Crusaders began the series against Southwestern University with a double-header this past Saturday. The Crusaders were unable to muster any offensive firepower in the first game, and the team combined for just three singles and no runs in the first seven innings of play. Meanwhile, the Pirates of Southwestern University built a 7-0 lead by scoring four runs in the third inning and adding another run in the fourth and two in the seventh. However, UD’s offense started showing signs of life in the eighth inning. After sophomore JP Fasone reached first base on a wild pitch and Villanueva was walked, senior Hunter Berry ripped a single down the left field line to score Fasone for the Crusaders’ first run. Despite this, a double play on the next at-bat ended the inning and stopped any chance for a comeback by the home team. The Pirates added one more run in the ninth inning to win by a score of 8-1.
The navy and white posted a strong performance to begin the second game, racing out to a 3-0 lead by the end of the second inning. Fasone and fellow sophomore Alex Stack hit an RBI single each, and Fasone himself scored on a wild pitch. However, Southwestern knotted the game at 3-3 with a run in the third and two runs in the fourth. In the top of the fifth inning, two back-to-back home runs by the Pirates left UD facing a 5-3 deficit. However, UD responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the fifth, with Berry scoring on a balk and Keele scoring on a wild pitch. After a scoreless sixth inning, the Pirates scored five runs in the top of the seventh and added another run in the eighth. UD was unable to mount a comeback and dropped the game by a score of 11-5.
In the third game, the Crusaders quickly fell behind 5-0 on a Pirates home run in the game’s first at-bat and four runs that the visiting squad scored in the second inning. Neither team scored again until the sixth inning, when the Pirates added another run to their lead. In the bottom of the sixth, freshman Patrick “Patch” Healy hit a two-run homer, and the Crusaders scored a third run off of a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 6-3.
After a quiet seventh inning, the Pirates scored another run in the top of the eighth. The navy and white answered in the bottom of the inning with two runs of their own to pull within two runs, 5-7. The Crusaders had a final chance to mount a comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning. With two outs, the Crusaders had men on second and third, thanks to a single and a walk. However, Stack grounded out to end the contest. The Pirates escaped the third game with a 7-5 win. Along with Healy, who scored a home run, Villanueva performed well in the final contest, contributing three hits on five attempts.
Freshman RHP Michael Meuth said that the Crusaders “dropped their heads” after the Pirates’ fast start in the third game. He stated that, in each of the three games, the team allowed “one really bad inning” that gave the Pirates a lead that the Crusaders were not able to overcome.