Blue Jays Fly High in Opening Day Sweep

Blue Jays Fly High in Opening Day Sweep

Topeka, Ks. – The Westminster College baseball team took to the diamond over the weekend to kick off their season.  It had been a long time coming and the Blue Jays wasted no time getting off to a good start with a double header sweep over the Buena Vista University Beavers in Topeka Kansas. The blue Jays won 6-4 in game one and 11-6 in game two.

Game one was defined by the five pitchers that were utilized to keep the Beaver bats quiet.  Skylar Dickneite started the game but gave way to Jacob Waelterman in the second inning. He was able to last two and one third innings but gave up three runs, two of which were earned.  Freshman Dawson Koch came in to start the fourth inning and gave up one run over the next three innings while striking out four.  The Blue Jays who were trailing 3-2 in the fifth inning when transfer Steven Diaz stepped to the plate and led off the inning with a game tying homerun.  The Blue Jays would take advantage of a Beaver error to plate another run to take a 4-3 lead.

In the seventh inning the Blue Jays would extend their lead when Payton Whitehead homered to make it 5-3. Later in the inning Derek Shikles doubled to left field to plate Hayden Hirschvogel with the final run of the game for the Blue Jays to make it 6-3. 

The Beavers would add a run in the bottom half of the seventh to cut the lead to 6-4 but that was as close as they would get.  Chase Holder would pitch a scoreless eighth and then senior Andrew Boessen would shut the door in the ninth earning his first save of the year.  Freshman Dawson Koch earned the first win of his career in his first college game.

The second game got going early for the Blue Jays as they plated five runs in the first inning.  The Blue Jays started the outburst in style as Steven Diaz hit his second home run of the day on the first pitch he saw leading off. Later in the inning Shickles would add an RBI single followed by a Hunter Mulholland two RBI double. 

The Jays would keep the Beavers at arm's length the rest of the game adding runs in the fifth on a two-run home run by Parker Schnieders to increase the lead to 7-2.  In the sixth inning Shikles had another RBI single to make it 8-4.

The Blue Jays would add a two-run double from Whitehead and an RBI by Shikles all in the seventh inning to round out the scoring in game two. The Blue Jays prevailed 11-7.

The Blue Jays were led on the mound by freshman Grant Higginbotham who pitched five innings giving up four runs (two earned) with five strikeouts and no walks to earn his first collegiate win in his first collegiate game.  Chase Holder pitched three more effective innings and Boessen came on in the ninth in a non-save situation and closed out the game.

Head Coach Zach Bishop liked what he saw out of his ball club, "It was a great day on both ends of the baseball. We made some mental mistakes and struck out too much but overall a great first day." Bishop added, "We had some timely hitting with runners in scoring position and a few home runs on the day. If we can continue to pitch like this we will be tough to beat. This group works hard and it was just great to get back out there and do what we love!"

The Blue Jays are back in action on Sunday as they look to go for the series sweep over Buena Vista University. Game three will see a first pitch at 12:00 p.m.