GEORGETOWN, Texas – Austin Smith continues to make his case as the top pitcher in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), throwing a complete game one-hitter to lead the Southwestern University Pirates baseball team to a 4-2 victory over the No. 4 Trinity University Tigers.
Smith picked up his fourth consecutive win to improve to 6-0 in eight appearances this season—all Pirates victories—and second straight win over nationally-ranked opponents after defeating No. 5-ranked Texas Lutheran University last week.
The Pirates' ace set the tone early, recovering from a leadoff walk to strike out the next three batters in the bottom of the first. Smith opened the second inning striking out Michael Goodrich before hitting Brannen Caraway. The defense picked him up with catcher Colby Schmidt throwing Caraway out trying to steal second and Chase Thinger showing his range at shortstop to pick up the 6-3 groundout to end the inning.
The Pirates struck first in the bottom of the second with Schmidt getting hit to start the inning. After Ethan Hallmark flied out to centerfield, Seth Sparks hit a stand-up double to right field, moving Schmidt to third. Brett Kendall put the Pirates on the board, grounding out to second but scoring Schmidt in the process.
Thinger added another run, sending a rocket back at starting pitcher Jeff Lonnecker, with the heat-seeking grounder ricocheting off his glove to score Sparks and give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
Byron Dowdell added to the Pirates' lead with a two-run blast, turning on a 2-1 pitch and lifting it over the left field fence on a frozen rope for his seventh home run of the season for a 4-0 lead. It was all the run support Smith would need.
The Tigers kept it close, cutting the Pirate lead in half in the top of the fourth with Michael Goodrich hitting a two-run home run on a 2-2 count after Mason Meredith drew a two-out walk before Smith struck out Carraway to end the inning.
Lonnecker and the Tigers' defense kept the pressure on Smith to be perfect, silencing the Pirates' bats from that point on, getting help from shortstop Jack Wisniewski, who showed range across the entire left side of the infield with an arm to make off-balance throws to retire Southwestern in order in four of the last five innings.
Smith was up to the task, working the outside corner relentlessly and breaking pitches inside. The SCAC leader in strikeouts added to his total with 11 more, shutting down the conference leader in runs, hits, home runs, RBI, walks, and batting average.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 18-12 on the season with a 6-4 conference record. Southwestern and Trinity will resume the series on Sunday with a doubleheader.