Baseball season is in full swing for the Dons and before Spring Break they played a couple tough games against UTSA and Cal State Bakersfield. During break while most other students were enjoying the week off the Dons travel to Riverside to take on UC Riverside. Here is a look at some of the action before the break, to catch you up on the season so far:
After the Dons swept the back to back games against University of Texas San Antonio, UTSA got the breaks the next day as they defeated USF 9-8 at USF’s Benedetti Diamond, in what has been the most exciting game of the season so far.
After losing both games on a double header Friday, the Road Runners defaulted to a victory on poor pitching by the Dons. “We need to pitch better to win these games. We got a lead. Gave it back. Got another lead. Gave it back. And got another lead. And gave it back,” said head coach Nino Giarratano.
The Dons started the game on a fairly decent pace tied, 4-4, going into the 5th inning. In the bottom of the fifth senior catcher Ryan Lipkin hit a two-run home run putting alongside a manufactured run putting distance between UTSA and USF, 7-4. However, in the seventh Junior Garrett Luippold had a rough start giving up 2 runs and leaving a third run on base that was brought in after a pitching change tying the game 7-7.
In the bottom of the 8th, Senior Robert Abel hit a single and was moved over on a sacrifice bunt by pinch hitter Senior George Lujan and a ground out. With Abel on third and two outs, Senior Derek Poppert was at bat when a passed ball got by the catcher allowing Abel the slide in to take a late lead of 8-7.
Going into the final inning the Dons led by a slim lead of 8-7. The second hitter for UTSA hit an enormous double off of the left field wall that majority of the crowd thought was a home run. After a pitching change to Junior Sean Burns, a passed ball that got by Sophomore catcher Mason Morioka advanced UTSA’s runner to third. The ensuing batter would knock another long ball to the exact spot of the previous batters tying the game 8-8. the following hitter would drop a single into centerfield to take a lead 9-8 which would finalize the game after a brief bottom of the ninth.
With the win the University of Texas San Antonio win and another victory in the next game, they tied the series at 2-2. UTSA was able to come away with a victory in the pitching duel with a 2-1 victory. Junior lefty D.D. Towler pitched the complete game allowing only one run while striking out six. The dropped the Dons record to 5-6.
In the next two home games the Dons took on Cal State Bakersfield, whom the swept 2-0 in the series. The Dons were dominant in both games as they shutout Bakersfield twice. In the first game the Dons won 3-0 behind great pitching performances from five different pitchers. Senior Alex Kalogrides was credited with the win, which is his first of the season, in a solid performance. USF’s offense was hitting well as four different people hit doubles to drive in runs. It was really an all-around solid outing for the Dons as six players got hits, with Junior Connor Barnatz and Sophomore Matt Chavez leading the team with two hits apiece.
In the second games against CS Bakersfield, the Dons continued their pitching dominance with another shutout this time winning 2-0. Once again many people took the pitching duties as six different pitchers appeared for the Dons. Sophomore southpaw Jordan Reimer earned the win in his 2 innings of relief. The offense struggled for the Dons put they were able to manufacture two runs. Senior Derek Poppert scored for the Dons after stealing third on a single by Senior catcher Ryan Lipkin. Bernatz then hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to put the lead to 2-0. With the win the Dons jump to 7-6 on the season. They now travel to San Diego to play San Diego, Fresno St and UAB before returning home to play Houston then they are off on the road again to Riverside to take on UC Riverside.