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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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USAO’s Bats are Red Hot with 33 Runs in Series

Christopher+Martinez+rounds+the+bases+on+one+of+his+two+home+runs+in+the+home+series+against+McPherson+College.
Christopher Martinez rounds the bases on one of his two home runs in the home series against McPherson College.

After winning the first game of their first home series, USAO’s baseball team (5-1, 0-0 SAC) played the remaining two games against the McPherson College Bulldogs (MC) (1-5, 0-0 KCAC) Friday, Feb. 2. The Drovers swept the series in a dominant fashion with three victories.  

The first inning of game one of the night didn’t start out in USAO’s favor, as MC was able to score the first run of the day. MC loaded the bases early and brought a Bulldog home after USAO pitcher Kylar Denton hit the batter, J.T. Edmunds. The Drovers gave up two hits and walked three other players during the first inning. USAO collected two walks of their own but couldn’t put any numbers on the scoreboard.  

Although the Drovers didn’t have a single hit during the second inning, third basemen Ben Bach made the highlight reel, as he laid out to catch a line drive between third and short, which gave MC their first out of the inning. Immediately following that catch, Denton joined Bach in the highlight reel, as the batter sent the ball flying back towards him. In an act of self-defense, Denton stuck his glove out, which came off; however, Denton quickly grabbed the ball and completed the play at first for the second out.  

USAO’s defense held strong in the top of the third inning, shutting out MC again. In the bottom of the inning, shortstop Devin Alvarez sent the ball into center for a double. The Drovers weren’t able to capitalize on the hit, which left the Drovers scoreless heading into the fourth.  

Once again, the Drover defense allowed zero hits from the Bulldogs in the top of the fourth. The Drover offense finally got over the hump and scored their first run of the game. First basemen Peyton McDowall hit his first dinger of the season over left field wall. This would be the lone score in the bottom of the fourth, bringing the score to 1-1.  

At the top of the fifth, pitcher Ryan Cullinane came in as a relief for Denton. Cullinane quickly picked up his first strikeout of the game. This helped the Drovers hold MC at one run. USAO’s offense began to kick it into the next gear as well, as Alvarez singled up the middle and then promptly stole his way to third. Left fielder Gage Ninness followed suit with a single up the middle to score Alvarez. Ninness stole second, advanced to third from a grounded by right fielder Gabriel Arroyo, and stole home on a pass ball. USAO took their first lead of the game with a score of 3-1. 

Going into the sixth, the Drovers committed their first error of the game; luckily, the error didn’t lead to any runs being scored. The seventh inning saw no offensive action from either team. However, Cullinane threw more two strikeouts with his efforts on the mound. 

The eighth inning was a different story, as the Bulldogs and Drovers tacked on more runs. The Bulldogs struck first as Kevinn Castillo hit a home run up the middle, bringing the score to 3-2. After allowing one more hit, the Drovers’ offense took the field. McDowall hit a double to right field and advanced to third after catcher Gunner Hanson grounded out. After this, second basemen Ian Ortiz walked to first. With runners in the corners, center fielder Ben Lawson doubled to left field and brought both runners home. With one inning of play left, USAO led 5-2. As the Drover defense had done most of the game, they kept the Bulldogs’ offense off the scoreboard in the ninth inning. USAO won the game 5-2 and picked up their fourth win of the season. 

While the first game between the Drovers and Bulldogs was competitive all the way through, this would not be the same for the third and final game of their series. 

The Bulldogs started off hot as Kevinn Castillo hit a three-run bomb to give MC the early lead. As Castillo trotted around the bases, he taunted USAO’s dugout with a tip of his cap, which lit a fire under the team. 

The Drovers offense took the field and recorded eight separate runs in the first inning. USAO only had two hits for the inning with most of their scores coming from the four errors and two walks the Bulldogs allowed. After the Drovers scored their fifth run, pitcher Jameson Card for MC would be relieved by Sam Palecki, a theme that would become all too common for the rest of this game. In total, 13 batters came to the plate for the Drovers in just the first inning alone, which USAO led 8-3. 

While MC struggled to find their footing on the mound, USAO’s pitchers made quick work of the Bulldog batters. In the top of the second, USAO allowed one hit before returning to the plate themselves. With three walks and a single, Bach returned home to add one run to the team’s growing lead.  

USAO pitcher Jared Adams struck out Castillo in this inning, which brought the Drover dugout to life after Castillo’s taunting in previous innings. No Bulldogs scored this inning, which brought USAO back to the plate. The Drover offense went on a scoring barrage again, this time scoring five runs. It began as MC loaded the bases with three walks. The fourth walk of the inning brought Arroyo home, and as the MC pitcher threw a wild pitch designated hitter Christopher Martinez scored. Hansen hit a sac fly to center to bring another Drover home, and the next play Ortiz hit a triple to the right side to score another. Ortiz was the last Drover to score in the inning off a sac fly from Lawson. By the end of the inning, USAO led 14-3. 

At the top of the fourth, the Bulldogs managed to score a single run, which would also be their last run of the series. The Drovers answered back with Martinez’s first home run of the season, as well as McDowall and Bach making it around the bases due to walks.  

Adams managed two more strikeouts against MC in the top of the fifth. The Drovers scored again in the fifth after Martinez hit another home run for the second inning in a row.  

As the sixth inning rolled around, Adams got a pat on the back as Nate Herchock relieved him. Herchock struck out one, allowed one hit and one walk in his lone inning on the mound. After seeing his teammates hit a ball over the wall, catcher Gavin Machado made his big play with a homer over the left field wall. USAO was ahead 19-4 at the end of the sixth.  

At the top of the seventh, Alden Norquist came to the mound to close out the game for the Drovers. That is exactly what he did, as he struck out the last batter for the Bulldogs, ending the game in dominant fashion for USAO with a score of 19-4. USAO only used three pitchers across this seven-inning game, while the Bulldogs had nine different pitchers go to the mound.  

Between the two games, the Drovers put up 24 runs, with McDowall leading the team in five of those scores. Martinez led the team with two home runs, with McDowall and Machado not far behind him with one home run each.  

The pitching squad did their job as the five pitchers amassed 15 strikeouts, allowed six runs off 13 hits, and walked only two batters. Cullinane threw 72.2% strikes, the highest out of the five pitchers. Norquist and Denton followed closely with 71.4% and 70% respectively. Cullinane and Adams both played five innings, with Denton playing four innings. Norquist and Herchock both only played in one inning.  

For their next games, USAO will play in the fourth annual Cajun Collision where they will face Georgetown College. Their first matchup will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10 in Sterlington, LA. 

 

Gary Jackson is a third-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributor
Gary Jackson, Sports Editor
Gary is a third-year communication major from Kingston. He works as a resident assistant (RA) and as a host for the Drover Talk podcast at USAO. Gary began writing for The Trend in January 2022, and has interned with the Madill Record and Marietta Monitor newspapers during the past two summers. When Gary isn’t attending class and working, you can watch him making the game-winning catch at the ultimate frisbee game, hanging out with friends, or visiting with his family. Experience with The Trend: Sports Editor: Nov. 2023 - present Senior Writer: Dec. 2022 - Nov. 2023 Contributing Writer: Jan. 2022 - Dec. 2022