The Westminster baseball team saw two career records fall in Saturday's season-opener doubleheader at the University of the Ozarks. The Blue Jays split the games, winning the first 7-3 and dropping the second 11-9. Senior Deion Hughes broke the career wins record in game one, and senior Tyler Branneky broke the career hitting record in game two. Hughes now holds 18 career wins at Westminster, and Branneky now has 142 career hits.
The Blue Jays took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second with a RBI double from junior Nick Cessna, a ground out RBI from junior Nolan Bax, and a ground out RBI from sophomore Blake Strebler. The Blue Jays added three more runs to the board in the third inning. Junior Connor Hager homered to left field, followed by a RBI single from Bax. Strebler brought in the final run with a RBI single to shortstop to take a 6-0 lead.
The University of the Ozarks put up a run in the fourth and two runs in the sixth to bring the game to 6-3, Westminster.
The Blue Jays scored a final run in the top of the seventh with a RBI single by Strebler to center field. The Blue Jays held the Ozarks from adding a run in the bottom of the seventh, ending the game with a 7-3 win.
The Blue Jays finished with 12 hits and six RBI. Cessna went 3-for-3 from the plate with two runs and one RBI. He also led the defense with nine putouts. Hager went 3-for-4 from the plate with two runs and a RBI.
Hughes pitched the complete game and was credited with the win. He faced 28 batters and struck out five.
The University of the Ozarks took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, The Blue Jays tied the game in the top of the second with a fielder's choice, but the Ozarks put up five runs in the third inning to take a 6-1 lead.
Cessna started the fourth inning with a homerun to left field. The inning continued with a RBI double to left center from sophomore Nick Bohlmann, followed by a RBI single to left field from Hughes. Hughes advanced two bases on balks and was brought home by Ty. Branneky's RBI double to left center. A fly out ended the inning with four runs scored.
The Ozarks scored three runs in the fifth inning to take a 9-5 lead. The Blue Jays cut the lead to 9-7 in the sixth inning with Hughes' RBI sacrifice fly out and Ty. Branneky's RBI single up the middle. The Ozarks put up two more runs in the seventh inning to take an 11-7 lead.
In the top of the eighth, Hughes hit a RBI single to center field to bring in Mundle. Hughes then scored on an error by the catcher to bring the game to 11-9, Ozarks. The Blue Jays were unable to get on base in the ninth inning, ending the game with an 11-9 loss.
Hughes went 3-for-3 from the plate with three RBI and two runs. Bax led the defense with nine putouts.
Junior pitcher Seth Lehmen was credited with the loss. He pitched two innings and struck out two. Freshman Alex Dickneite pitched four innings and struck out three, and junior Tanner Branneky pitched the final two innings and struck out three.
The Blue Jays close out the three-game series with the Ozarks on Sunday, February 21, at 12:00 pm.