Above photo by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru/russellmarwitz.com
BELTON- In a rematch of an 18-13 Southwestern victory two weeks ago, Tuesday night’s midweek duel between the Pirates and Crusaders could not have been more different than that high-scoring contest in Georgetown on March 15.
The pitching was on point for UMHB, and everything else followed suit, as the Cru picked up its 13th win of the year, winning a one-sided showdown, 11-1, in eight innings.
Southwestern, who rattled off 23 hits in the previous meeting this season, struggled all evening at the plate, managing just three hits, evening with high winds blowing towards dead center field for the majority of the contest. On the flip side, UMHB had no issue making contact, putting runners on base, and taking advantage of their scoring opportunities. The Cru stranded just eight baserunners, with 12 hits, including three home runs.
A two-run first inning gave UMHB an early advantage, as Warren Sammons and Ryan Farmer came up with consecutive two-out RBI singles. That was soon followed by a two-run third, as Hunter Jones connected on the first of his two homers, sending a pitch over the outfield wall that scored Malek Bolin as well for a 4-0 lead. Southwestern did not get on the board for the first four innings, but did cut into the deficit in the fifth, taking advantage of a passed ball and sacrifice fly from Trent Raschk that scored Henry Fisher from third.
UMHB’s bats took over from that point on, with seven runs over the final three innings, run-ruling the Pirates. Farmer’s hard-hit home run in the seventh sailed over the wall in deep center field, giving the Cru an 8-1 advantage, and one inning later, Jones added another homer to his stat line, making it 10-1. Southwestern only managed one out in the eighth-a strikeout of Malek Bolin– before Rhett Grosz came through with a game-sealing single to left field that scored Caimyn Holiday from second base and won the game for UMHB.
Before the Crusaders look ahead, here’s a closer look at Tuesday’s victory:
The pitching performance was more than near-perfect…it was a season-best: Tuesday’s three-hit showing by the combined performance of three Crusader pitchers ranks as the fewest hits allowed by UMHB’s pitching staff in a game more than seven innings this season. Zach Carroll, who earned his first victory of the season, allowed just two hits and three walks over the first five innings, before Cameron Bogan fired one inning, with just one hit, preceding Alex Palczweski’s two-inning, no-hit outing. UMHB allowed just one run for the first time this season, and did not give up an extra-base hit for the fifth time.
Jones proved his power-hitting strength at the plate: Bolin had rightfully garnered much of the home-run hitting attention over the last several weeks with his team-high seven homers entering the evening. But Jones flashed his power with the bat in his hands, in a 2-for-5 day at the plate. The two home runs were a career-high for the third-year sophomore from Hewitt, Texas.
Stolen bases assisted in scoring: UMHB stole four bases for the third time this year, two of which came from Kaden deBerardinis right out of the gate. Batting in the leadoff spot, he walked to begin the game, he proceeded to steal second, then third, scoring what turned out to be the go-ahead run later in the first inning. UMHB leads the ASC in stolen bases, with 61 on 75 attempts.
UMHB faces ETBU in a three-game series in Belton this weekend. Game one is set for Friday at 6 p.m. with a doubleheader to follow beginning at noon on Saturday. ETBU is 19-7 this season, 16-2 in ASC play, and leads D-III in home runs (37).