The Westminster baseball team opened the season with a doubleheader versus Nebraska Wesleyan in Columbia, Missouri on Sunday. They won the first game, 9-3, and short-gamed the Prairie Wolves in game two, 15-2 (7 innings). The Blue Jays begin their season 2-0.
The Westminster Blue Jays quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead in game one with a RBI double by junior Deion Hughes to score freshman Adam Mundle and a ground out RBI by junior Ryan Loethen to score senior Tim Chambliss.
The score remained 2-0 until Nebraska Wesleyan warmed up their bats in the top of the sixth. With bases loaded, the Prairie Wolves hit a single to score two. They went up 3-2 on the next at bat with a fielders choice that scored the runner on second. The Blue Jays pulled out of the inning with a strike out on the next at bat.
Freshman Connor Hager singled to shortstop to start the bottom of the sixth. Chambliss came up to the plate and hit a RBI single to the left side, scoring Hager and tying the game back at 3-3. Chambliss was caught stealing, but Hughes walked, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. The Prairie Wolves then walked junior Tyler Branneky and sophomore Nick Cessna to bring the bases loaded with two outs. They walked the next two batters, bringing in two more runs. Junior A.C. Long stepped up to the plate and cracked a 2 RBI double down the left field line to bring in Loethen and Cessna, and Hager hit a 2 RBI single up the middle to score senior Cam Backes and Long. The Blue Jays grounded out to end the inning with seven new runs on the board.
The Blue Jays held the Prairie Wolves to just one hit in the seventh inning, ending game one with a 9-3 season opening win. The Blue Jays outhit Nebraska Wesleyan 12-6.
Hughes was credited as the winning pitcher. He pitched six innings and 54 strikes and struck out five. Chambliss went 3-4 from the plate with one run and one RBI. Hager went 2-2 from the plate with 2 RBI and one run.
The Prairie Wolves hit two RBI doubles in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead, but the Blue Jays did not flinch. Hager led off the bottom of the inning with a double to center field and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Chambliss stepped up to the plate and cracked a RBI double to score Hager. He was advanced to third on a passed ball, and was brought in by freshman Chris Asher's sacrifice fly to right field. The Blue Jays struck out to end the inning tied 2-2.
After three quick outs, the Blue Jays were back at the plate to add two more runs to the board. Hager and Chambliss each hit RBI doubles to score sophomore Tanner Branneky and Hager.
The Blue Jays were unable to score in the third, but another RBI double by Chambliss brought in sophomore Nolan Bax in the bottom of the fourth to give the Blue Jays a 5-2 advantage. In the bottom of the fifth, Ta. Branneky singled to left field to bring in Hughes, but the Blue Jays grounded into a double play on the next at bat to end the inning.
The Blue Jays' bats caught fire in the sixth. Hager led off with a walk and advanced to second on Chambliss' sacrifice bunt. He scored on Hughes' RBI single, and Hughes scored on Ty. Branneky's RBI single through the left side. Asher then stepped up to the plate and smashed a home run to the left side, bringing in two runs. Freshman Nick Bohlmann singled, Loethen walked, and Long went to the plate to pinch hit for Bax. Long cracked a home run to the left side, bringing in three runs. To round out the inning, Hager hit a two run home run to give the Blue Jays nine total runs in the inning.
Junior pitcher Collin Brinker closed out the top of the seventh with three strikeouts, ending the game short with a final score of 15-2.
Junior Will Miller (1-0) earned the game win, pitching five innings, throwing 48 total strikes and striking out four. Brinker came in as relief and struck out four. Hager and Chambliss each went 3-4 from the plate with 3 RBI. Ta. Branneky went 2-3 with a RBI.
The Blue Jays close out the three game series with Nebraska Wesleyan on Monday with a 12:00 p.m. start time in Columbia, Missouri.