Photo by Luke Zayas/True To The Cru
Leading off (from Belton, Texas): The 2023 UMHB baseball season drew to a close on Saturday afternoon in Belton, as Sul Ross State took the series with a pair of victories. The Cru concludes the year with a 14-21 overall record, and a 9-18 ASC record.
Game 1: UMHB, 8, Sul Ross State, 7 (10 innings)
Carson Hagan came through as the hero on Thursday evening, as the third baseman lofted a base hit to shallow center field, breaking a 7-7 tie as Kaden deBerardinis scored from third, giving UMHB its first extra-innings win of 2023. The walk-off single came after UMHB loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 10th, thanks to a single from deBerardinis and a pair of walks issued by SRSU reliever Connor Arche.
The Cru scored the final five runs of the contest after giving up six runs in the sixth inning, falling behind 7-3. However, the next four innings were scoreless for SRSU, as Jacob Haynes and Nicklas Fenner held the Lobos at bay. SRSU tallied 11 hits in the first six innings, but just four across the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th. A total of six pitchers threw for UMHB on Friday, with Bryce Farlander earning the start. The freshman right-hander tossed 3 innings, giving up just two hits and a run.
Top hitters: Tyler Betts (2-for-5, RBI), Rhett Grosz (2-for-4, run), Carson Hagan (2-for-4, RBI, BB, run)
W: Nicklas Fenner, UMHB (3-2)
L: Connor Arche, SRSU (2-3)
Game 2: Sul Ross State, 13, UMHB, 4 (7 innings)
The Lobos jumped out to a commanding 13-0 lead by the third inning, in large part due to seven runs in the third inning, and never looked back. UMHB pushed three runs across in the bottom of the third, and held SRSU scoreless for the remainder of the seven-inning matchup, but it was too little, too late.
A three-run homer off the bat of SRSU’s Carson Thor with two outs in the first set the tone. UMHB had two home runs of its own, off the bats of Warren Sammons and Tyler Martin, in the third, and it was the fourth time in 2023 that the Crusaders tallied multiple homers in one contest.
Notably, with seven hits in the loss, UMHB stole just one base, nearly two bases below its average of 3.05 stolen bases per game. In 12 occasions this season that the Cru has ended up with one or zero stolen bases in a game, they are 2-10.
Top hitters: Sam Muniga (2-for-3, run), Warren Sammons (1-for-2, 2 runs, BB, RBI), Rhett Grosz (1-for-3)
W: Gage Cobb, SRSU (3-2)
L: Andrew Acierni, UMHB (5-4)
Game 3: SRSU, 15, UMHB, 4 (8 innings)
In a contest that resumed nearly 19 hours after it began due to heavy weather in the Belton area on Friday afternoon, SRSU took the series in an 11-run victory.
Though the Lobos jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Friday afternoon, when the two teams came back on Saturday, the contest played out fairly evenly for the first four innings. SRSU added to its lead, going up 3-0 in the third, but the Crusaders countered in the fourth, with a two-run inning of their own. Robert McCall and Shane Mellick recorded back-to-back singles that brought runs across, and UMHB loaded the bases with two outs, but SRSU preserved its lead with a timely fielder’s choice that got Harmon out at second base.
SRSU took control in the sixth, as five runs came around. Tye Lindsey’s three-run homer made it 8-2 as the Lobos sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning. The eighth provided much of the same as the visitors from Alpine added to the advantage, scoring five runs before UMHB recorded the inning’s first out.
Blake Harmon’s RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the inning briefly extended the contest, before SRSU reliever Aidan Mow struck out Tyler Betts looking for the game’s final out…and UMHB’s final out of the 2023 season.
With the win, SRSU qualified for the ASC Tournament, which begins next week in Marshall, Texas. The Lobos finished fifht in the ASC standings. UMHB finished eighth in the league.
Top hitters: Hayden Guerin (2-for-4, run), Blake Harmon (3-for-4, run, RBI), Shane Mellick (2-for-3, RBI, BB)
W: Dawson Beard, SRSU (2-5)
L: Rahul Champaneri, UMHB (1-3)