Series Sweep Leads to Successful Senior Day


Laura Barrios Bardi

Christopher Martinez, USAO’s third baseman, reaches out to tag a WBU runner before he reaches third base.

Preston Palm, Contributing Writer

USAO baseball (27-15, 13-5 SAC) played at Bill Smith Ballpark for the final home series of the regular season over the weekend. The Drovers faced off against Wayland Baptist University (WBU) (24-17, 9-9 SAC). Saturday night’s game concluded with a ceremony to honor six seniors, including Tony Hrynkiw, Luke Lewis, Reed Butz, Cameron Johnson, Cayleb Hunter, and Drew Shaver.

The first game on Friday night was a little quieter than most games this season. The first inning was scoreless for both teams, it wouldn’t be until the top of the second inning that the first run would cross home plate. That run came from WBU as they struck first with a single to lead to a 1-0 score. Drover’s biggest inning of the game was the third, even though only two runs were scored. USAO took the lead off a homerun by Christopher Martinez that led to him and Gabriel Arroyo to home plate. Tensions rose in the fifth inning as WBU tied the game. The game remained tied until the bottom of the sixth inning, where Ben Lawson doubled to left field, and Ryan Rodriquez capitalized and scored to give the Drovers the lead and the 3-2 win.

USAO’s offense recorded seven hits. Hrynkiw and Lawson shot the ball into gaps for doubles. Martinez sent the ball over the wall for a homerun, in which he recorded two RBIs.

Shaver started on the pound and stayed there for five innings. In his time, Shaver allowed two runs off seven hits, struck out three, and walked four. Shaver threw 103 pitches, with 59 of those recorded as strikes. For the sixth inning, Boone Lasater pitched. Lasater struck out one and threw five strikes across nine pitches. For the final inning, Alden Norquist threw eight pitches with half being recorded as strikes.

The second game of the night had much more action than the first, and it started with a two-run homerun, courtesy of Christopher Martinez. It didn’t take too long for WBU to respond, as they scored three runs at the top of the second inning to take the 3-2 lead. USAO put their foot on the gas from the bottom of the second to the bottom of the fifth. USAO scored seven runs, while WBU didn’t score until the bottom of the sixth inning when it was too late. The final score would be 9-6 in favor of USAO as they were one game away from another series sweep.

In game two, USAO recorded six hits. McDowall snagged a double for himself, while Martinez earned another homerun for the season. The team had 9 RBIs, including four from McDowall, two from Arroyo, two from Martinez, and one from Nick Fleckenstein. Lawson and Ryan Duncan sped around the basepaths, where they each earned one stolen base apiece.

Another senior, Butz started game two on the mound for the Drovers. He controlled the game for five innings, in which he allowed six runs off nine hits, walked two, and struck out six. Butz recorded 74 strikes across 110 pitches. The last two innings were split between Lasater and Claudio Rodriguez. Together they allowed three hits and struck out two.

Saturday day afternoon put USAO in a great position to close out the series and celebrate the seniors for all they’ve done. The last game of the series was USAO’s best performance of the weekend. While neither team scored in the first inning, the Drovers opened up the scoring in the second with two runs. The first came from a double from Gage Gaunt that led to a run from Peyton McDowall. The second run of the inning was created by error as Gaunt scored unearned. USAO tacked on another three runs in the third inning. The first run came from McDowall getting hit by the pitch, leading Fleckenstein home. Next, USAO scored two runs off a single from Gaunt. To end the third inning, Hrynkiw singled towards right field, which brought Gaunt and McDowall home. Arroyo kept the spark alive in the fourth with a homerun over the right field fence. In the end, USAO swept the series with a final score of 9-2.

For the final game, USAO recorded seven hits. Gaunt earned a double while Arroyo homered. The Drovers put up 9 RBIs, including three from Gaunt, two from McDowall, two from Hrynkiw, and one from Lawson and Arroyo.

Josh Harrel led the Drovers from the mound for seven innings. In his time, he allowed two runs off three hits, walked three, and struck out two. Harrel threw 53 strikes across 93 pitches. Rodriguez finished out the final two innings, in which he allowed zero runs off one hit, walked four, and struck out four. He threw 16 strikes across 26 pitches.

The Drovers will step back onto the field Thursday, April 20th at Oklahoma City University (OCU) at 6 p.m. The series will continue with the Stars Saturday with games at noon and 2:30 p.m.


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