Above image of Jeb Zolman by CJ Halloran/@cjhall_photography
SAN ANTONIO, Texas- Despite a solid performance through seven innings, the UMHB baseball team failed to generate offense as No. 1 Trinity rolled to its 10th straight victory in a 6-0 non-conference victory.
The loss dropped UMHB to 11-12 on the season, while Trinity stayed nearly perfect with a 17-1 record.
Pitching and defense was what kept UMHB within striking distance for majority of the contest, as the Crusader pitching staff was poised against a strong Trinity lineup that entered the game batting .336 as a team.
The score was knotted at zero for the first four innings as Trevor Ripke earned the start for the Cru. Ripke went just two innings, but did not allow a single hit or run and walked three batters. Alex Palczweski took over in relief as Ripke ended his outing, and kept Trinity at bay, though he did experience some trouble in the fifth.
The bulk of the Tigers’ hitting came in the fifth, as Trinity plated its the first two runs of the game. Michael Goodrich led off the inning, drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch from Palczweski. Goodrich then proceeded to steal both second and third base as another walk was issued. With runners on the corners, Michael Herrera lofted a long flyball to right field, as Goodrich gave Trinity the only run it needed, scoring on the sacrifice fly.
A single followed off the bat of Trinity second baseman Jack Wisniewski, and Palczweski gave up another base hit in the ensuing at-bat to Brian Schaub as the Tigers went up 2-0.
UMHB had plenty of opportunities while trailing with runners on base, but failed to capitalize. In the seventh, the Cru had its best scoring opportunity of the day, loading the bases on a walk, hit by pitch and throwing error with two outs. But center fielder Kaden deBerardinis swung on a high first pitch and grounded out on a chopper to first base, and ended the inning with UMHB down two.
The Tigers exploded in the eighth, and sapped any momentum the Cru had, pushing four runs across with two outs.
Zack Honey had a great outing through his first 2.2 innings of work, but after tallying the second out of the inning, lost his composure as he gave up a solo home run to MJ Metz. The homer put Trinity up 3-0, as Metz took advantage of a hanging slider and drove it deep to left field as it clanged off the scoreboard.
That was just the beginning, as Honey allowed a single, a four-pitch walk and another walk, loading the bases. With Honey rattled, UMHB head coach Mike Stawski called on freshman Zach Carroll to finish out the inning.
Carroll looked good on the mound, inducing a routine ground ball to UMHB second baseman Blake Harmon on the first pitch of his outing. But Harmon failed to secure the hard-hit grounder, as he committed UMHB’s second error of the contest. Trinity pushed two across on the error, as Harmon’s throw to home plate was late.
Another good pitch from Carroll on a 3-2 count was driven to right field for base hit, as Wisniewski scored Rafe Chaumette from third base. The additional insurance run put Trinity up 6-0.
UMHB catcher Hunter McQuary knocked a single to left center to open the ninth inning, but that was all the offense the Cru mustered in the final frame, as Trinity reliever Matthew Thomas struck out the next three runners looking.
Trinity had a solid offensive performance, but it was the Tigers’ pitching that proved to be the difference. UMHB had just seven hits on the day, two of those coming off the bat of designated hitter Jeb Zolman.
Zolman was the only Crusader with multiple hits, as McQuary, deBerardinis, Caimyn Holiday, Hunter Jones, and Rhett Grosz each tallied a single hit in the loss.
The Cru travel to Brownwood, Texas this weekend for a three-game series at Howard Payne.