After taking two out of three wins against Sul Ross State University during the home opening weekend, the University of Dallas Crusaders baseball team went on the road to face the University of the Ozarks Eagles in a three-game series.
In the first game, the Crusaders got the scoring started with six runs in the third inning. With the bases loaded, junior first baseman Zachary Taylor got hit by a pitch to bring in the first run of the game. Senior left fielder Luke Boylson added on two more runs with a double to right center field. Senior catcher Jessup Scott then tacked on a fourth run for the Crusaders by grounding out to third and bringing in Taylor.
“Anytime we as a team can put up a run on the board is a good thing,” Scott said about driving in the fourth run of the game. “It doesn’t always have to be pretty as long as we get the job done.”
Senior right fielder Paul Scioli then followed that up with a double to left center field to bring in Boylson. Finally, senior designated hitter Mark Peterson recorded a single to cap off the frame for the Crusaders 6-0.
“That [inning] was a huge momentum swing for us,” Scott said. “Not only did it give us a good lead with some cushion, but [it] allowed us to get to their bullpen early.”
The Eagles responded with one run in the third inning, but the Crusaders added to their lead with a run in both the fourth and fifth innings. Boylson walked to start the fourth, stole second, and with two outs, Peterson recorded another single to bring in Boylson and make it a 7-1 game. In the fifth, Scioli walked, and Peterson reached on an error by the pitcher as Boylson scored, making it an 8-1 game. The Eagles rallied in the bottom of the seventh by piecing together five runs, but it proved to not be enough, as the Crusaders ended up winning the game 8-6.
In the second game, neither team scored until the third inning, when the Eagles scored the first run of the game. The Crusaders responded in the top of the fourth when, with two outs, Peterson walked to put two Crusaders on bases. Senior right fielder Joseph Griesbauer was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for junior third baseman Seth Hanson, who walked to bring in the first Crusaders run. Scioli then gave the Crusaders the lead with a double to left field, scoring both Peterson and Griesbauer to make it a 3-1 game.
The Crusaders went on to keep the game at a two-run advantage by exchanging a run with the Eagles in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth. Both teams traded runs again in the top and bottom seventh inning frames. The game was suspended after the eighth inning due to darkness, and Sunday’s game was canceled due to weather, giving the Crusaders the win in game two after eight innings.
“Anytime you can string together some wins, you build confidence and belief in yourself and your teammates,” Head Coach Erik Grafton said. “We are going to have to prepare well this week for LeTourneau and do a better job of executing physically, but we know if we do things the way we know how to, then we have an opportunity to win ball games.”
After starting the season 4-1, the Crusaders will return home this weekend to face LeTourneau University. First pitch is Saturday, Feb. 16 at 12 p.m.