USAO’s Pitchers Strikeout 30+ Batters


Laura Barrios Bardi

Reed Butz, USAO’s pitcher, rockets a ball towards home plate while Peyton McDowall anticipates the next play.

Preston Palm, Contributing Writer

This past weekend USAO baseball (20-13, 8-4 SAC) looked to bounce back after suffering a frustrating loss against Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) last Tuesday. The Drovers found themselves up against Central Christian College (CCC) (4-31, 1-13 SAC), facing the Tigers in a three-game series starting Friday and ending Saturday. While the Drovers were coming off a loss, it was clear they came into this matchup with confidence, and why wouldn’t they? Since 2018 the Drovers have not dropped a game against CCC.

USAO got off to a blazing hot start as they scored six times in the first inning alone and those six runs were unanswered as the Drovers were up 6-0 after just one inning. Neither team could find home plate in the second inning. CCC tried to answer at the top of the third inning with a single run to chip at USAO’s lead slightly, but USAO responded shortly after scoring two runs in the bottom of the second inning to bring the score to 8-1 after three innings. USAO scored yet again in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring two more runs to bring their total to ten. The fifth inning showed more of the same, with another two-run inning. The sixth inning was scoreless. While CCC did score in the seventh inning, it was just too late as USAO won 13-2. Five Drovers had multiple RBI performances in the first game, including Gunnar Hansen, Peyton McDowall, Will Hoch, Toni Hrynkiw, and Ben Lawson.

Josh Harrel started on the mound for the Drovers, where he stayed for six innings. In his time there, Harrel allowed one run off four hits, struck out eight batters, and walked one. Harrel threw 75 pitches, with 53 of the pitches ending in the strike zone. Jacob Williams finished out the last inning for the Drovers, where he allowed one run off one hit, struck out one, and walked two. Williams threw 16 pitches, with half of them reported as strikes.

In game two, CCC had a strong start with a single homerun at the top of the first inning. However, the Tigers strong start did not carry over to the rest of the game, as it was all USAO from then on. The Drovers scored three in the bottom of the first to take the lead. USAO followed a lackluster second inning with a monstrous third. The Drovers made their way home nine times in the bottom of the third alone, completely separating themselves from the Tigers. With CCC not scoring again in this game, USAO ran the score up to 16-1 for the win. Once again, five Drovers had multiple RBI performances, including Hansen, McDowall, Nick Fleckenstein, Christopher Martinez, and Gage Gaunt. While Hoch, Hrynkiw, Jayce Roberts, and Ryan Duncan pitched in a single RBI apiece. With two games down and both being dominant, it was time to close the series like it was started.

Drew Shaver started game two for USAO. Shaver pitched for six innings; He allowed one run off four hits, struck out ten batters, and walked one. Shaver threw 56 strikes across 75 pitches. Cayleb Hunter closed the game in one inning. He walked one batter and struck out two. Hunter threw 15 strikes across 24 pitches.

The third of the series started as many would expect it to, as Martinez hit a single homerun in the bottom of the first inning to start off the effort to sweep CCC. This time in the third game, unlike the past two, the second inning was where USAO really hit their stride as they upped their run total from one to six in the bottom of the second inning alone. The Drovers extended their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning to bring the score to 7-0. The Tigers tried to fight back with their lone run of the game in the top of the fifth inning, but they were simply outmatched. USAO won 10-1 and swept the Tigers.

For the final game, Reed Butz pitched for the Drovers. Butz pitched seven innings, allowed one run off two hits, struck out 12 batters, and walked one. He threw 59 strikes across 87 pitches. Boone Lasater followed him for one inning. Lasater allowed two hits, struck out one batter, and threw 13 strikes across 17 pitches. Finally, Alden Norquist threw the ninth inning where he struck out two, walked one, and threw 17 pitches with ten of them recorded as strikes.

USAO baseball will be back at Bill Smith Ballpark Tuesday, April 4th, where the Drovers will play Bacone in a two-game series with games at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.


Preston Palm is a second-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.