Fulton, MO, 3/26/2022 – The Blue Jays came into the third game of a three-game series against the Principia College Panthers looking for a clean three game sweep. The Blue Jays had racked up 31 runs on 32 hits through the first two games and they were looking for more of the same in game three. The Blue Jays scored five runs before the Panthers could record an out in the first. The Jays would score seven runs total in the first inning and the rout was on as the Blue Jays would cruise to a 18-1 victory in five innings as the game was halted by the umpires due to injuries on the depleted Panther roster. The win improved the Blue Jay record to 4-14 overall and the game which was a non-conference contest kept the Jays SLIAC record at 2-3.
The Blue Jays saw the first three batters reach in the first inning. Derek Shikles (New Bloomfield, MO / New Bloomfield) would stake the Jays to a 1-0 lead as his seeing eye single would plate Payton Whitehead (Belleville, Il. / Belleville West) who led off the game with a single for the third consecutive game. Designated hitter Quin Adelson (Louisville, KY / North Oldham) would work a walk to bring home Matt Lukins (Clark, MO / Rock Bridge) who singled earlier in the inning. A wild pitch would bring home the third run of the inning as Steven Diaz (Highland, IL / Highland) who had singled came in to score as the other runners moved up to second and third. Hayden Hirschvogel (Jefferson City, MO / Jefferson City) would come through with a double to drive in Shikles and Adelson for a 5-0 lead. After an Austin Mayton (Wentzville, Mo. / Fort Zumwalt North) ground out moved Hirschvogel to third with one out. First baseman Zach Wolken (Jefferson City, MO / Helias) would bring him home with a sacrifice fly to make the score 6-0. The ninth batter to come to the plate for the Jays would come up with the biggest swing of the day so far as Spencer Keiser (Old Monroe, MO / Winfield) would blast a solo home run to make the score 7-0 after one inning.
Blue Jay right hander Kaleb Hinkle-Pruett (Alton, IL / Roxana) got the call for the Blue Jays in game three. He worked a scoreless first inning before getting touched for the only run he would give up as the Panthers would lead off the top of the second inning with a solo home run to cut the lead to 7-1. Hinkle-Pruett would settle down after that and would work three innings giving up just the one run on one hit. He struck out five batters while walking none in picking up the win. The win was the first career collegiate victory for the Blue Jay freshman.
The Blue Jays would add five runs in the second inning. Diaz would strike for an RBI single. He would then steal second base. He would then score after Shikles would crush a no doubter two run home run over the left field wall. That would make it 10-1. After Adelson was hit by a pitch he would steal second base before being brought home on a Mayton double to make it 11-1. The final run would score on a wild pitch that would bring Mayton home to make it 12-1 after the second inning.
The Blue Jays would strike for six more runs in the bottom of the third inning. The big hits in the inning were a two-run single by Whitehead and a pinch hit RBI single by Hunter Pethan (Boonville, MO / Boonville). In the end, the Blue Jays would lead 18-1 after three innings.
Grant Higginbotham (Farmington, Mo. / Farmington) would come on in relief of Hinkle-Pruett in the top of the fourth. He would work one inning giving up no runs and one base hit. Nathan Shepard (Warrenton, Mo. / Warrenton) would come on to work a perfect top of the fifth inning to preserve the win for Hinkle-Pruett and the Blue Jays.
Shikles led the way at the plate for the Jays in game three going 2-2 scoring three runs with three RBI's on a walk, a double and a home run. Whitehead, Lukins, Diaz and Keiser would each record two hits to help lead the 13 hit Blue Jay attack. Whitehead, Adelson, and Keiser would each drive in two runs.
The Blue Jays will look to continue their winning ways next weekend when they host the defending SLIAC Champion Webster University Gorloks next Saturday at Saucier Field. The Blue Jays and Gorloks will play a double header on Saturday April 2nd starting at 12:00 p.m. and a single nine inning game on Sunday April 3rd with a first pitch at 2:00 p.m.