It was cold, it was wet, but it was a smiling St. Catharine College baseball coach Luther Bramblett after the end of the weekend that opened Mid-South Conference play. That was because the Bat Pats did nearly everything right in a three-game sweep of the Shawnee State Bears.
St. Catharine (13-8, 3-0) ran its win streak to five games with timely hitting, excellent defense and superb pitching in the weekend sweep. The Bat Pats won 2-1 in Saturday’s nine inning opener of the series and then won 1-0 in Saturday’s second game of seven innings. In the third game of the series on Sunday, another nine inning contest, the Bat Pats took a 6-2 decision.
For the weekend the St. Catharine pitchers allowed only 10 hits in the three games. They gave up no earned runs while striking out 16 and walking just four batters. The defense committed only two errors in the three games.
“Our pitching on Saturday was phenomenal,” said Bramblett. “And our defense made the routine plays behind them that we haven’t always done so far this year. Shawnee state has a good club so we feel fortunate to have swept them.”
Ryan Rizzi turned in the first gem with a complete game three-hitter in Saturday’s opener. The junior right hander struck out six and walked one. He got all of the offense he needed with solo homers by Tyler Mischel (fourth inning) and CJ Englestad (seventh inning) for the 2-1 win. The Bears (8-11) got their only run in the ninth inning when they sandwiched two singles around a passed ball.
In Saturday’s second game it was junior southpaw Javier Perez who turned in another complete game, this time limiting the Bears to just two hits in the1-0 victory. Only one runner got as far as second base in the dominating pitching performance that saw Perez fan three and walk none.
St. Catharine got the only run of the game in the bottom of the seventh. Andrew Garcia tripled with one out. Then, with the infield drawn in, Joey Xavier bounced a high hopper over the mound that was fielded by the second baseman but Garcia just beat the throw to the plate to score the winning run.
In the final game of the series on Sunday the Patriots found more offense to support the strong pitching. After just five hits in each of the first two games they pounded out 13 hits in the 6-2 win. Juan Moriel and Cody Miller led the way with three hits apiece.
Four Bat Pats’ pitchers worked to limit the Bears to two runs, both unearned, on five hits. Junior right hander Tim Reed pitched the first five innings to record the win, allowing three hits while walking one and fanning four. Cory Klinger went two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Matt Wagner and Brad Krohman pitched one inning apiece of scoreless ball.
Another busy week is on tap for the Bat Pats who play Asbury University at home on Monday and host #12 Union College on Tuesday.