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Baseball Falls Short in Doubleheader to ETBU

Baseball Falls Short in Doubleheader to ETBU

GEORGETOWN - The Southwestern University baseball team dropped a doubleheader to East Texas Baptist on a frigid afternoon at Rockwell Family Baseball Field, dropping a 5-3 (7) contest before a wild 8-5 12-inning contest. 

The first game of the doubleheader started similar to Friday night's game as the Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead. They eventually tacked another run on thanks to a Southwestern error to take a 3-0 advantage in the fourth.

Just as Southwestern seemed out of it, missing out on some earlier opportunities, the offense came alive in the fifth inning as freshman Seth Sparks led off with a double following by a sac bunt by freshman Trey Schwarz, which found him on first due to an error by the Tigers. 

Freshman Austin Smith put down a beautiful safety squeeze to score one followed by another Tiger error on a ground ball, which scored two more runs to even the game at three a piece.

However, a RBI double from Zach Gartner in the sixth plus an insurance run in the seventh put the game away and gave ETBU a 5-3 win to clinch the series. Southwestern had a runner 90 feet away with one out in the sixth, but a failed suicide squeeze resulted in a quick ending to the inning.

Sparks finished with another multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a double and run scored while Smith was 1-for-3 with a RBI and run scored. Senior Ethan Hallmark, sophomore Daniel Montgomery Jr., and junior Cole Kelly all added a hit in the contest including doubles from Hallmark and Kelly.

The Pirates sent five pitchers to the mound with senior Will Preston earning the start. Sophomore Ian Towle pitched 2.1 innings in relief, giving up one run on no hits to go with three strikeouts while freshman R.J. Senining (0-1) took the loss despite a solid showing.

Blaine Parker (1-0) got the win for ETBU while Garrett Penny (1) picked up the save. KJ Miller went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and three stolen bases.

Southwestern looked to salvage a game in the series and after falling behind 1-0 in the top half of the first, Southwestern used a two out rally to start the game strong. Sophomore Byron Dowdell II and junior Colby Schmidt had back-to-back singles with a misplay in the outfield resulting in Dowdell scoring on the Schmidt single. Kelly then came to the plate and blasted a triple down the right field line for a 2-1 lead.

Sparks came to the plate later in the inning and singled home Kelly with a RBI single through the left side to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead after one.

ETBU got runs back in the second and third to even the game at three, but Southwestern again answered in the fourth freshman Hayden Craig scored on a wild pitch while Hallmark drove a run in with a RBI groundout. 

The Tigers evened the game again with two runs in the fifth, but from there, the offenses were shut down.

Sparks (0-1) came in releif for starter Smith in the fourth inning and proceeded to pitch 8.2 innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits while striking out three as he kept the Tigers in check.

Unfortunately for Southwestern, the bats went cold on their end as neither team could take advantage of opportunities as the Tigers left 18 on base while the Pirates left 13 on as the game went to extra innings.

Despite opportunities for the Pirates to end the game with a walk off, it was ETBU who got three unearned runs in the 12th inning thanks to an SU error. They held off the Pirates in the bottom half to hang on for the 8-5 (12) win.

Along with his pitching numbers, Sparks went 3-for-5 at the plate with a RBI and run scored to finish his first collegiate week an impressive 7-for-11 at the plate. Schmidt went 2-for-4 with a run scored Montgomery was 0-for-1 with five walks. 

ETBU's Chandler Muckleroy (1-0) was saddled with the win, pitching three complete and allowing only one hit. Seth Mikeska went 2-for-6 with two RBI and a run scored while Zach McAdams and Gartner each had two hits and two runs scored.

Southwestern starts the young season 0-3. They'll look to bounce back next weekend as they begin a three game series in Abilene against McMurry beginning on Friday evening at 7 PM.