GEORGETOWN, Texas -- The Southwestern University Pirates returned to conference play with their ace and some power, overwhelming the Austin College Kangaroos early and holding on late for a 13-9 victory in the first of a three-game conference series.
Austin Smith, the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) leader in strikeouts, struggled with control enough to muddy a masterpiece, walking six batters and hitting another, but still painted the corners enough to strikeout 10 in seven innings.
The Pirates' ace pitcher allowed runners on in each of the first two innings but escaped each unscathed with four strikeouts through the first eight batters.
At the plate, the Pirates' offense gave Smith a two-run cushion early, getting to first year pitcher Jordan Miller early with three consecutive hits to start the bottom of the first. Leadoff hitter Ted Lobkowicz opened the bottom of the first with a single up the middle, sneaking the ball just past the outstretched arms of diving second baseman Jake Webster.
Daniel Montgomery Jr. and Cole Kelly hit back-to-back doubles with Montgomery ripping a shot down the left field line to score Lobkowicz and Kelly driving the ball to the center field fence to bring in Montgomery for a 2-0 lead.
Smith got in trouble in the top of the third, hitting the leadoff batter and walking another. He battled through it though and would have left both stranded if not for a two-out error giving the Kangaroos an unearned run to cut their deficit in half.
Southwestern responded immediately in the bottom of the third as things unraveled for Miller on the mound, walking the first two and giving up a RBI-single to left field by Byron Dowdell II, scoring Montgomery. After getting two outs, Miller lost his control again, walking the bases loaded and then walking a run in, ending his afternoon.
Ryan Scruggs relieved Miller and immediately walked Chase Thinger, scoring another run. Dowdell added another Southwestern run in the fourth, hitting a solo home run to give Southwestern a 6-1 lead.
Smith found trouble again in the fifth inning as the deep pitch counts approached and surpassed the century mark, giving up a leadoff single and RBI-double by Cody Goggins to give the Kangaroos their first earned run. He recovered in the sixth, striking out the first two hitters and walking the third; getting help from catcher Colby Schmidt, who threw out James Wyche trying to steal second.
Schmidt followed the cannon-like throw with a booming shot, hitting a three-run blast to score Dowdell and Montgomery to give the Pirates a 9-2 lead.
Austin College started the top of the seventh with two walks and a single, scoring on a Goggins RBI-single and Webster sacrifice fly to put two more on the board before Smith got out of the inning, ending his afternoon with seven innings pitched, giving up six hits, and three earned runs (and four overall).
Southwestern scored three more in the seventh, getting a RBI-sacrifice fly from Kelly and a two-RBI by Bryce Debbs. Lobkowicz added another run with a RBI-sacrifice fly in the eighth to give the Pirates a 13-4 lead.
Austin College made a furious rally in the ninth, getting a single and two walks to load the bases for Webster's two-RBI double and Gilbert's two-RBI single. An error scored the fifth run of the inning, ending Kimberlin's day with Machi Horne taking over to induce a groundout to end the game.
The Pirates finished with 13 runs on 11 hits and two errors, getting three RBI from Schmidt and a 3-for-4, two-RBI, three-run performance from Dowdell. Montgomery was 1-for-2 with three walks and four runs scored.
With the win, the Pirates improved to 11-6 on the season and 2-2 in conference.