The opening weekend of baseball play in the WAC is now over. And it a successful weekend for the WAC. The conference as a whole had series wins over SEC, Big 12, and WCC opponents. Plus, a road split by the team chosen to finish seventh in the preseason polls and another win over a Pac-12 foe. All-in-all, it was a solid opening weekend for WAC baseball.
Don’t mean to over-hype one weekend of baseball but series wins over Missouri (GCU), Baylor (UTRGV), Pepperdine (CBU) and Portland (Seattle) plus a road split with St Mary’s (UVU) and win at Arizona State (Sac St) was a good way to begin.
— Jeff Hurd (@WAC_Commish) February 23, 2021
Sacramento State beat #15 Arizona State. Grand Canyon took three out of four against Missouri from the SEC. California Baptist was able to take two out of three from #33 Pepperdine. And UTRGV found a way to win the series at home against Big 12 foe Baylor.
Despite Weather Delays, Seattle Wins Opening Series
Seattle U opened the 2021 season with a series win at Portland. The Redhawks had their schedule changed with the Pilots due to weather. Instead of starting on Friday, the series was pushed back two days to Sunday.
Seattle U won the first game on Sunday 5-4 and was led by Preseason All-WAC selection Julian Kodama who went two-for-four with three RBIs. The Redhawks lost game two of the Sunday doubleheader to Portland, 7-0. The Pilots got four RBIs from Jake Holcroft as the Pilots plated six runs in the bottom of the seventh. The series finale went to Redhawks as Preseason All-WAC performer Connor O’Brien went one-for-four with a home run to help the Redhawks to a 5-3 series-clinching win on Monday.
The Redhawks will continue south next weekend to play Oregon in Eugene for a four-game weekend series starting Thursday afternoon.
Steady Offensive Attack Key in Series Win for Lopes
Grand Canyon helped the WAC with a statement series win, taking three out of four from SEC foe Missouri. The Lopes used a steady offensive attack over the weekend, which started on Friday night in an 11-3 victory. The middle part of the GCU lineup hit all over the yard with eight of the 13 hits for Grand Canyon. Zach Barnes got the start on the mound and went six innings, only allowing two hits with ten strikeouts.
Ryland Zaborowski went two-for-three with three RBIs to lead the Lopes offensively in game one of the Doubleheader. Pierson Ohl went 5 2/3 innings for Grand Canyon, limiting the Missouri offensive to only six hits and three runs. Game 2 was a back and forth affair that saw the Tigers come out on top. Missouri third baseman Luke Mann went two-for-three, including a home run and four RBIs to lead the Tigers.
The final game of the series went to GCU by a 10-3 final. The Lopes took advantage of eight Tiger walks on the afternoon. Zaborowski and Tyler Wilson both had multi-hit ballgames for Grand Canyon. The pitchers matched the offensive performances as starter Carter Young went five innings and scattered four hits on the afternoon. Grand Canyon stays in Arizona to host Oregon State for a four-game series beginning Thursday night at Brazell Field.
CBU Earns Series Win Over WCC Foe
California Baptist took two out of three from #33 Pepperdine. The Lancers won both games at home but dropped one game in Malibu. On Friday Night, CBU got a two-home run game from Damon Keith to pace the Lancers’ offense to a 9-1 win. Chad Castillo had three hits in the game. Bryan Pope took the win throwing five innings of one-hit ball.
The Waves used a six-run fifth inning on Saturday to break open game two and win 10-6. Despite Damon Keith’s third home run of the series, CBU wasn’t able to stop the Waves offense. Justin Lukes knocked in three runs, including a home run of his own for Pepperdine.
The series finale shifted back to Riverside and featured Liam Rocha going five innings and allowing just three hits. Ulises Caballero hit his first home run of the year and was joined by two-hit games from Michael Carpentier and Nick Plaia. The Lancers will now prepare for a four-game weekend home stand against Saint Mary’s out of the WCC. The Gaels are coming off a series spilt against Utah Valley.
— CBU Baseball (@CBUbaseball) February 21, 2021
Offensive Fireworks Highlight Northern Colorado’s Opening Series
Northern Colorado was originally scheduled to be at Wichita State that was canceled due to inclement weather. The Bears found an opponent locally in Colorado Christian. The Bears played two games on Saturday, losing a 15-inning contest in game one of the doubleheader. UNC’s Jake Gitter went 5-8 in the contest, including a home run. And fellow Bear Josh Glenn was 4-6 with four RBIs for the Bears in a 9-8 loss.
The Bears evened the series with Colorado Christian in a light-shorted, five-inning ballgame, 5-1. Gitter was 1-2 in the second game with his second home run of the day. Lincoln Turner and Josh Glenn had multi-hit games. The final game of the series was an offensive showdown. The Bears won the last game of the series, 17-10. Gitter went deep for the third time on the weekend. Matt Burkart hit his first home run of the year to spark the offense. Sam Leach and Billy Moreland both had multi-hit games.
Sac State Gets Win at No. 15 Arizona State
Sacramento State traveled to No. 15 Arizona State to open its 2021 season. The Sun Devils held the lead in the first game until the ninth, when Dawsen Bacho hit a grand slam to lift the Hornets to the win on opening night. Sacramento State got the win despite only recording four hits in the contest.
Arizona State would squeeze out close games in both the second and third games of the series. Aaron Zeidman had four hits in game two. The Sunday finale of the series went to ASU. Erik Tolman threw five innings of one-hit baseball. The Hornets could not get enough offense to take either of the last two games but pitched well on the weekend. Sacramento State returns home this weekend for a four-game series starting Thursday against Pacific.
— Sac State Baseball (@SacStBaseball) February 20, 2021
Newcomers Open with Series Loss at Future WAC Foe
Tarleton State dropped two out of three against Abilene Christian. The Wildcats swept the Saturday doubleheader, winning 16-3 and 7-2. The Texans had a tough time at the plate with only eight hits combined in the two games. Tarleton State flipped the script in the series finale in a 10-4 win. Kemuel Thomas-Rivera had a 3-5 day. Thomas-Rivera hit his first home run of the year and knocked in three runs in total. The three-run second and four-run seventh opened up the game for Tarleton State. The Texans have a short turnaround as they are scheduled to play the University of Texas-Arlington on Tuesday at Globe Life Park and will play on the road at Texas A&M Wednesday before playing Northwestern State next weekend.
UTRGV Grinds Out Series Win Over Big 12 Foe
WAC favorite UTRGV began the 2020-21 season with a huge series win against Big 12 foe Baylor. The Bears won the first game 12-7 and were led by a two-home run game by Jared McKenzzie and a five-RBI game from catcher Andy Thomas. The Vaqueros made a run at a comeback but came up short in the late innings. Christian Sepulveda went 2-3 with a home run to get the offense started.
In the second game, UTRGV was trailing 8-2 entering the bottom of the seventh inning but then plated six runs in the seventh to tie the ballgame. Spencer Serven came up with the game-winner with a base hit to left field. Serven also homered in the game for UTRGV.
The series finally went to UTRGV who defeated Baylor 7-4. The Vaqueros were aided by a three-for-four game from Diego Ramirez and a two runs driven home by Conrado Diaz. UTRGV takes two out three from Baylor out of the Big 12 and will now head to Seattle to take on Washington.
We take the lead, 9-8 over @BaylorBaseball in the Bottom of the 8th!
— UTRGV Baseball (@UTRGVBaseball) February 21, 2021
Utah Valley Splits Opening Weekend at WCC Foe
Utah Valley split a four-game series at Saint Mary’s to open the 2021 campaign. The Wolverines won the opener 2-1 behind a five-inning shutout from Jesse Schmit. Mitch Moralez had two hits, including an RBI. Kase Ogata scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch.
UVU won the second game by a narrow 3-2 margin that featured a three-inning save for Devin Smith. Moralez had his second two-hit game of the year. Brandon Luna’s seventh-inning base hit to score Pacen Hayes was the difference in the ballgame.
The Gaels evened the series by winning games three and four. The Gaels outhit the Wolverines in the final two games of the series. Luna and Mick Madsen both had two-hit games in game three of the series. Ryan Novis went 2-3 for Saint Mary’s. The series’ final game saw the Wolverines go down on fourteen strikeouts in a 2-0 win for Saint Mary’s. Logan Petet was a bright spot out of the bullpen as he went two innings with five strikeouts. The Wolverines will head back to California next week for CSU-Bakersfield in a four-game series beginning Friday.
Dixie State and New Mexico State both had series canceled this weekend. Dixie State hosts Washington State beginning Thursday. The Aggies will travel to play Abilene Christian for four games.