GEORGETOWN, Texas – Sophomore Aaron Clark pitched seven innings and threw a career-high 12 strikeouts to help the Southwestern University Pirates baseball team to a 9-0 victory over the Hardin-Simmons University (HSU) Cowboys.
Jordan Scott started on the mound for the Pirates and gave two solid innings, retiring HSU in order with help from the defense, getting an unassisted double play from first baseman Cole Kelly—plucking a line drive out of the air and stepping on first for the force out to end the second.
It was enough to give Scott the decision, earning his first win of the season, with the Pirates scoring five runs in the first two innings.
Southwestern did most of its damage early with two outs on their ledger. After Ted Lobkowicz led off the bottom of the first with a pop out to shortstop, Daniel Montgomery Jr. singled through the left side and stole second during Cole Kelly's at bat, which ended in a strikeout. Montgomery showcased his speed on an infield single by Byron Dowdell II, stretching the play by rounding third and beating the throw from first sliding under the tag at home to put the Pirates on the board.
Colby Schmidt followed with a two-run blast to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
Southwestern got another two-run homerun in the second inning from Montgomery after the Pirates opened the inning with back-to-back fly outs and a walk.
The Pirates added another run in the third on a Bryce Debbs RBI-double to score Schmidt with Debbs being thrown out trying to leg out a triple. Dowdell hit a two-out, two-RBI single to left field, taking advantage of a HSU error that extended the inning.
Clark took the mound to start the third, retiring three of the first four hitters while hitting one batter and getting stronger as the game wore on. The sophomore showed a talent for blowing pitches past hitters but also an inconsistency with control early; missing wildly when he did.
Those struggles were especially pronounced when trying to hit the corner of the plate on the first base side, sending pitches into the left-hander's batter's box. Even as every other pitch appeared to lock into place, Clark struggled to locate that one area of the strike zone. And then the top of the sixth happened.
Clark surrendered back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth inning, then struck out two and induced a pop out to escape unscathed. The momentum carried over into the seventh as Clark struck out three of four.
Southwestern added an insurance run in the seventh on a Nathaniel Haynes RBI groundout and Clark struck out the side in the eighth and induced two pop ups and a groundout in the ninth to pick up the save on a career night.
Dowdell led the Pirates offensively, hitting 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Schmidt was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored and Montgomery finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 19-14. Southwestern will hit the road this weekend with a three-game road series against Dallas, playing a doubleheader on Friday, April 19 and a single game on Saturday, April 20.