TYLER, Texas — The Southwestern University Pirates baseball team put together two big innings in which they took advantage of six of their 11 hits and two errors to defeat the University of Texas-Tyler Patriots 8-2.
Texas-Tyler struck early, opening the bottom of the first inning with a leadoff double to left center, a fielder's choice with no out, and a walk to load the bases, scoring on a passed ball and a Graham Welch sacrifice fly to to left field to score Blake Wilson for a 2-0 lead after one.
Relief pitcher Benjamin Ludwig took the mound for the Pirates in the top of the second, pitching six shutout innings while limiting the Patriots to three hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Southwestern scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning in what could have been a three-up, three-down outing, taking advantage of an error with one out to string together three hits and a walk.
After a leadoff strikeout, Kevin Stein reached on an error followed by Ethan Hallmark popping up to shortstop. With two outs, Seth Sparks singled to center field and Chase Thinger walked to load the bases, setting up a Hayden Craig RBI-single to left field, scoring Stein.
A Patriot pitching change later, Daniel Montgomery Jr. hit a three-RBI double down the right field line to score Craig, Thinger, and Sparks for a 4-2 lead.
Southwestern added four more runs in the eighth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles from Sparks and Thinger and loading the bases with Craig reaching on an error. Montgomery was hit by a pitch, scoring Sparks, and Thinger scored on a wild pitch, moving Montgomery and Craig to second and third.
Colby Schmidt knocked both in with a two-RBI double to center field to give the Pirates their final 8-2 lead.
Trey Schwarz took over for Ludwig in the bottom of the eighth after a leadoff walk and single put two on. After walking the first batter he faced to load the bases with no outs, Schwarz got out of the inning unscathed, inducing two infield pop ups and striking out another.
Schwarz gave up a one-out double and walk in the bottom of the ninth but the Pirates' defense ended the game on a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Montgomery continued his recent tear, hitting 2-for-4 with a team-high four RBI and a run scored. His 17 RBI now lead the SCAC. Schmidt was 2-for-4 with two RBI and a walk and Sparks and Thinger were each 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 9-2 on the season, making this the best start for the program since starting 10-1 in 2005, ending that season 30-12, and third best start overall.
Southwestern will open conference play on the road this weekend with a three-game series against Schreiner University. Game 1 will be on Friday, March 15 at 2:00 p.m. with a doubleheader the following day starting at noon.