GEORGETOWN, Texas -- The Southwestern University Pirates baseball team got a dominant pitching performance from Colton Hunter and rocked the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders' bullpen to open up the three-game, home-and-away series with an 8-1 victory.
Hunter made his third start of the season and established himself early, getting nine of the first 11 hitters he face on his way to a complete game victory with a career-high 15 strikeouts.
His counterpart, Hardin-Baylor starter Cameron Whitman, held his own, striking out nine through six innings and giving up just two hits. Seven walks and a costly two errors in the third accounted for three runs he gave up with two unearned. Southwestern shredded the Crusaders' bullpen for five of their seven hits with five earned runs.
The Pirates struck first in the bottom of the third inning, taking advantage of two consecutive errors from the middle of the Crusaders' infield.
Southwestern got a leadoff walk from shortstop Chase Thinger. Hayden Craig hit a grounder to shortstop Dawson Shibley, who overthrew second to give Thinger third base. Daniel Montgomery Jr. then ripped a RBI-single to right field but was caught in a rundown between first and second, advancing on a dropped ball by second baseman G. Gonzales, allowing Montgomery to score.
Montgomery later scored on a Colby Schmidt groundout to shortstop to give Southwestern a 3-0 lead.
Hunter got in trouble in the top of the fourth, walking one and giving up two singles sandwiching a strikeout to load the bases but induced a pop fly to the catcher and got a diving catch from shortstop Chase Thinger and force out at second to keep the Crusaders scoreless.
The Pirates put runners on the corners in the bottom of the fourth inning but UMHB second-baseman Garrett Gonzales went airborne to end the inning, robbing what should have been a RBI single up the middle.
Hunter retired the side in the top of the fifth, striking out all three hitters to bring his total up to eight and struck out two more in the sixth, allowing only one runner to reach on an error.
Mary Hardin-Baylor finally got on board, hitting back-to-back singles and scoring later with two outs when a collision at the plate knocked loose a perfect throw from Southwestern left fielder Ethan Hallmark.
The Crusaders pulled Whitman in the sixth and Montgomery answered with a leadoff home run to left field in the bottom of the inning off relief pitcher Bailey Whatley. Cole Kelly followed with a RBI-double off the wall in left-center for a 5-1 lead, ending Whatley's night. Later in the inning, Chase Thinger added two more, dropping the ball between first base and the right fielder to score Hallmark and Kelly off relief pitcher Harrison Sims.
Hunter remained strong in the top of the eighth with another three-up, three-down inning, ending it with his 12th strikeout of the game.
The Pirates added another run in the eighth with a RBI single from Ryan Baranowski for the 8-1 lead.
Taking the mound in the bottom of the ninth, Hunter struck out the side for the complete game victory, improving his record to 3-0 to bring Southwestern to 6-2 on the season. Montgomery finished 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Thinger was 2-for-2 with two RBI, a run scored, and two walks.
Southwestern will travel to play Mary Hardin-Baylor tomorrow with the doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m.