Rough week for WAC Baseball
Preseason WAC favorite UTRGV struggled offensively in a series loss at Washington. Courtesy David Pike/UTRGV Athletics #18 J.C. Ariza UTRGV Photo by David Pike
Baseball

Sac State Gets Lone Series Win in Rough Week for WAC Baseball

It was a rough week for WAC baseball. Only one team won a series. Yes, others split series but for the most part it was a rough week. Seattle split with Oregon. Sacramento State got back in the win column this week. But, everyone else lost their series this week. 

Here is a breakdown of the week that wasn’t for WAC baseball teams. 

Oregon State Pitching Overpowers GCU

The Beavers used a solid pitching performance to quiet Grand Canyon’s bats and got a 4-0 victory in the four-game series’s first game. Kevin Abel limited GCU to only three hits and struck out 11 of the 18 hitters he faced in the opener, and the Beavers bullpen did not allow a hit in the final four innings. Zach Barnes pitched well for GCU with eight strikeouts of his own. 

Grand Canyon held the lead into the ninth in game two before the Beavers scored three runs in the ninth against Frankie Scalzo to lift OSU to the 3-1 win. Oregon State clinched the series win with a 9-2 victory on Saturday in Phoenix. 

The Beavers kept the offense alive, and they took advantage of thirteen GCU walks on the afternoon to win 9-2. Jake Pfennigs went six innings for the win for Oregon State. Grand Canyon had a couple of bright spots, including a 4-5 performance from shortstop Channy Ortiz

Oregon State used a two-run eighth and a run in the ninth to finish off the sweep of Grand Canyon this weekend. GCU led 2-1, entering the top of the eighth inning when Oregon State would get an HR from Andy Armstrong to tie the game and a ninth-inning insurance home run from Troy Claunch to lift the Beavers. Carter Young pitched well for GCU against a tough OSU lineup and went five innings, limiting the damage. Jacob Wilson and Elijah Buries each had two hits for the Lopes in the 4-2 setback. 

Grand Canyon does not get much rest from the tough competition as they will now head to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to play Oklahoma State this next weekend. 

Redhawks Win last two, Spilt in Eugene

Seattle U dropped game one to Oregon 4-3. The Redhawks held the lead for eight and a half innings. However, the Ducks from the Pac-12 used a couple of walks combined with timely hits that fell just out of the Redhawks’ reach to take the series opener at PK Park in Eugene. Oregon got runners on in the ninth with a single, hit by a pitch, and took advantage of the only two errors by Seattle U to take game one. 

Oregon took game two of the series 6-0. Gavin Rork went 2-4 for Seattle U. Josh Kasevich went 2-4 with a home run for Oregon. The Ducks took advantage of a six-run third inning to score all the necessary runs in the second game. 

Seattle U found a way to inch closer to the series split on Sunday with a 4-2 win on Saturday. Connor O’Brien went 2-5, and Nester German went 5.1 strong. Peter Chronowski picked up a save, going 2.2 innings without allowing a hit. 

The Redhawks used two four-run innings to earn a spilt at Oregon on Sunday. Morgan White kept the Ducks offense in check, only allowing one hit over 5.2 innings. The offense for Seattle U used extra-base hits from Gavin Rork in the fifth inning and Matt Boissoneault to clear the bases and lift Seattle U to an 8-4 win. 

Seattle U now prepares for a weekend series with four games against in-state opponent Washington State beginning Friday. 

Cougars overwhelm Trail Blazers

The Cougars had a come-from-behind win in the opening game of the series from Bruce Hurst Field. WSU won the game, 6-3. Dixie State held a 3-0 lead heading into the seventh inning. However, the Cougars tied the game with three runs in the seventh. Then, Washington State scored three runs in the eighth to win. Kodie Kolden went 3-4 with two RBIs for the Cougars. 

WSU took game two, 19-5, and had 16 hits on the afternoon. Kolden continued to swing the bat well, going 5-5 while scoring four runs and driving in six runs. WSU won the series outright with a 15-1 victory on Saturday. Tristan Peterson went 3-6 with a home run, and four RBIs to lead WSU. 

Washington State completed the sweep of Dixie State on Sunday afternoon with a 10-3 victory. The Cougars had a balanced offensive attack all weekend long. Colin Montez went 3-5 for WSU.

Dixie State suffered a tough setback in its first weekend of DI baseball. A couple of bright spots moving forward was a 3-4 performance from Tyler Hallow and a 2-5 game from Tanner Harper. 

The Trailblazers will now hit the road to Wichita, Kansas, to take on the Shockers in a three-game series later, beginning on Friday. 

Extra Innings Prove Costly for Bears. 

South Dakota State took game one in dominating fashion, 12-0. The Bears were limited to just three hits in the seven-inning contest. SDSU scored multiple runs in the three final innings. Landon Badger went 3-5 and knocked in three runs. Ryan Mcdonald was 3-4 for the Jackrabbits. 

The second game of the series went to extra innings. South Dakota State got two extra-base hits to bring in two runs to eventually win 6-2. Badger continued his hard-hitting weekend, going 3-5. Luke Ira was 3-4 at the dish on game two. 

Game three finished Sunday in another extra-inning affair. It was the second extra-inning game of the series. The Jackrabbits pulled away from Northern Colorado in extras. South Dakota State found a way to capitalize with two extra base hits in the tenth in another 6-2 win over the Bears. 

The series finale turned out to be a back-and-forth scoring affair. SDSU held an 11-3 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh when the UNC rally began. The Bears scored three in the seventh, featuring a Carson Gross two-run double. The Bears added runs in both the eighth and ninth but came up short in the 12-9 loss. Aidan Leahy was 3-5 with a home run for the Bears. 

Next week, Northern Colorado prepares for North Dakota State at Jackson Field in Greeley for a four-game series starting Friday. 

New Mexico State at Abilene Christian

Abilene Christian used a six-run first to lead the Wildcats to a game one win over NMSU, 8-7. New Mexico State would chip away at the lead over the contest but came up short. Connor Lux was 3-5 for the Aggies, who as a team had 11 hits. 

Abilene Christian improved to 5-1 on the year with a 15-9 win over NMSU in game two. Kevin Jimenez and Brandon Dieter each went 2-3 for the Aggies. The Wildcats scored 15 runs on 16 hits. Sebastian Randle had five RBIs in the game for ACU. 

New Mexico State fought off a potential sweep by winning the series finale with Abilene Christian, 12-2, in seven innings. The Aggies used four home runs from Ethan Mann, Tommy Tabak, Jake Baer, and Cal Villareal. Chris Jefferson threw a complete game in the win for New Mexico State. 

The Aggies will stay in the state of Texas as they have a mid-week game against Texas State on March 2 in San Marcos before continuing to College Station for a weekend series against SEC foe Texas A&M.

Doubleheader Sweep lifts Devils to series win over Tarleton

The Texans pitching staff overpowered the Northwestern State offense, holding the Devils to just two hits in the game. Tarleton State starter Alex Pinedo went the distance for a complete-game shutout with seven strikeouts in the 2-0 Tarleton victory. 

Northwestern State swept a Saturday doubleheader to earn the series win. In game one, it was a pitcher’s duel. Cal Carver went five innings, and Drayton Brown picked up a four-inning save. Game three featured a 2-1 Tarleton lead until the ninth, when the Devils got a three-run, walk-off home run from Gabe Colaianni. 

The Texans now return to action in the mid-week against Arkansas Pine-Bluff before going to Conway, Arkansas, for a tournament hosted by the University of Central Arkansas beginning Friday with a game against Missouri State. 

rough week
GCU right-hander Pierson Ohl throws a pitch at Brazell Stadium this weekend against Oregon State. Courtesy GCU Athletics.

Saint Mary’s at California Baptist

Saint Mary’s used a 6.2 inning performance from Carlos Lementi in picking up a game one win. Lementi held the Lancer’s offense to three hits while recording 11 punchouts on the evening. The Gaels took game one 5-1. Justin Banks was 2-4 with a home run and three RBIs for the Gaels. 

On Saturday, Sam Bower pitched into the eighth inning for SMC and limited the Lancer offense to three hits. The Gaels took game two of the series, 6-0.  

The Gaels swept the Saturday doubleheader with an 8-4 victory. Justin Banks and JC Santini both hit home runs for the Gaels. Blake Mann and Ryan Novis also had multi-hit games for the Gaels. The Lancers found some offense against a good SMC pitching staff and got a 3-5 performance from Nick Plaia and, as a team, had 12 hits in the second game. 

Saint Mary’s looked close to a four-game sweep in Riverside Sunday until the bottom of the eighth. California Baptist erupted for five runs to take the lead and held on for the 8-5 win. CBU had two base runners with Ulises Caballero at the plate. Caballero hit a home run to left field to plate three runs in the rally. Caballero had five RBIs on the afternoon. Saint Mary’s scored two in the ninth on a Justin Banks home run. However, it wasn’t enough in the comeback attempt. 

The Lancers’ Sunday win now gives them some momentum heading into the next week’s series on the road against the UC Davis Aggies. 

Hornets back on track with Sweep of Texas State

The Hornets and Bobcats played two on Saturday, with the Hornets coming out on top in both games, 8-4 and 5-4. In game one, Dawsen Bacho went 2-5, including a first-inning RBI double. Scott Randall got the start and went 5.1 innings, only allowing four Bobcat hits over that span. 

In game two, Martin Vincelli-Simard hit a home run in the first inning. The Hornets pushed across the game-winning run in the sixth when Dylan McPhillips reached on an error that allowed Aaron Ziedman to score. The Hornets bullpen was lights out, and Stone Curby picked up his second save in the 5-4 win. 

Sacramento State completed the sweep on Sunday with a 7-1 victory over Texas State. The Hornets got six innings from starter Eli Saul who limited the Bobcats to their only run on six hits. Martin Vincelli-Simard went deep for the second straight day. It was only three batters later when Aaron Zeidman hit a two-run shot to give the Hornets’ the final runs of the game. 

Sacramento State plays Pacific on March 1, before heading to Santa Clara for a weekend series with the Broncos out of the WCC. 

Bats go quiet in the Pacific Northwest

The rough week continued for WAC baseball. Preseason favorite UTRGV dropped the first game of the series at Husky Ballpark 10-3. Washington used a steady offensive attack with a 3-5 performance from Braiden Ward and two-hit games from Noah Hsue, Ramon Bramasco, and Michael Brown. 

In the second game of the series, the Huskies scored a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to secure a win in the seven-inning contest. Will Simpson drove home Emilo Corona to lift the Huskies to a 3-2 win. 

UW used a steady offensive attack, scoring in five separate innings and getting home runs from Michael Brown and Will Simpson to get the 6-0 victory on Sunday. Jack Enger was tough on UTRGV, going five innings only allowing two hits. UTRGV had four hits in the contest, with two of the four coming from Diego Ramirez. 

The series finale is scheduled for Monday, March 1st, 2021, in Seattle. UTRGV will then return home to meet Northern Illinois out of the MAC beginning on Friday. 

Utah Valley did not play this week after having the scheduled series at CSU-Bakersfield canceled due to COVID.

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