Columbia, MO, 5/1/2022 – The Westminster College baseball team expected to be on the road in Illinois taking on the Blackburn College Beavers in both teams' final regular season SLIAC series of the year. A freak pop-up thunderstorm rendered the Beavers home field unplayable and the Blue Jays home field was also water logged so the two teams would take the field in Columbia, Missouri at Battle High Schools new turf field. Blackburn was still considered to be the home team and they would take advantage of that in game one to jump out to a lead and they would never trail as they took game one 14-8 over the Blue Jays. The Jays would rebound in game two jumping out to a 4-0 first inning lead and they would never trail in the game as they pounded out 19 hits and won 17-5 to earn the split on the day. The split brought the Blue Jay record to 10-22 overall and 8-11 in SLIAC play.
Blackburn got things going early in the bottom of the first inning. A one out single, a groundout that advanced the runner and a two out RBI single saw the Beavers take the early 1-0 lead. Blue Jay starter Bode Gebbink (St, Joseph, Il. / St. Joeseph-Ogden) would settle in for the Blue Jays holding the Beavers to that one run through four innings. The Blue Jay bats would get going in the top of the fifth inning. Matt Lukins (Clark, MO / Rock Bridge) would double to right field with one out. Payton Whitehead (Belleville, Il. / Belleville West) would reach base on an error by the Beaver shortstop. Austin Mayton (Wentzville, Mo. / Fort Zumwalt North) would then stroke a two-run triple to deep right to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead. Steven Diaz (Highland, IL / Highland) would then drive in Mayton with a sacrifice fly to left field to extend the Blue Jay lead to 3-1. Blackburn would touch Gebbink for two runs to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth.
The bottom of the sixth inning proved to be a costly one for the Blue Jays as Blackburn would send 11 batters to the plate scoring 6 runs on seven hits and a walk against three different Blue Jay pitchers. When the dust settled the Beavers held a 9-3 lead heading into the top of the seventh inning.
The Jays would start to claw their way back in the top of the seventh. Lukins would single to lead off the inning and he would steal second base. Whitehead would then walk. Mayton would reach base on a single up the middle to load the bases with no one out. A passed ball by the Beaver catcher brought Lukins in to score and the other runners each moved up to make the score 9-4. Diaz would then crush his sixth home run of the season, a three-run shot over the right field wall to cut the Beaver lead to 9-7. The Beavers would get a run back in the bottom of the inning to lead 10-7. Whitehead would deliver an RBI single in the top of the eighth inning to cut the lead to 10-8. It was the closest the Blue Jays would get as the Beavers would score four runs in the bottom of the eighth and roll to a 14-8 win in game one.
Gebbink went five and a third innings giving up five runs on six hits. He also struck out seven and walked four in picking up a no-decision. Kaleb Hinkle-Pruett (2-5) (Alton, IL / Roxana) came on in relief in the sixth inning giving up four runs on six hits. He struck out one and walked no one in picking up the loss. Matt Trout (Lee's Summit, Mo. / Blue Springs South) pitched the seventh inning giving up one run on two hits as he struck out one and walked one. Jackson Kespohl (Columbia, MO / Battle) went two thirds of an inning giving up five runs on four hits in the eighth inning. He struck out one and walked one. Breycin Dysart (New Bloomfield, MO / New Bloomfield) came on to strike out the only batter that he faced.
The Blue Jays would waste no time in game two to bounce back. Whitehead would walk to start things off for the Blue Jays in the top of the first. Mayton would hit his second triple of the day down the right field line to score Whitehead. After a pop out, Derek Shikles (New Bloomfield, MO / New Bloomfield) would triple to dead center field to drive in Mayton to make it 2-0 Jays. Quin Adelson (Louisville, KY / North Oldham) would then reach when he was hit by a pitch. Shikles would score and Adelson would move up to second on a balk to make it 3-0. Hayden Hirschvogel (Jefferson City, MO / Jefferson City) would then beat out an infield hit that moved Adelson over to third base with one out. That chased the Blackburn starter. Coltin Green (St. Anthony, Mo. / St. Elizabeth) would bring in Adelson on a sacrifice fly to center field to make it 4-0 after one half inning. Blackburn would respond in the bottom half of the inning by getting a run back on an RBI single to make it 4-1. The Beavers would also score a run in the bottom of the second inning to close to within 4-2.
The Blue Jays would add to their lead in the top of the fourth inning. Zach Wolken (Jefferson City, MO / Helias) led off the inning with a double to right. He then advanced to third base on a passed ball. After Lukins lined out to the second baseman, Whitehead would ground out to the second baseman to score Wolken to make it 5-2. In the top of the fifth inning Diaz would single and steal second base. With one out Adelson would single to left field moving Diaz to third base. Hirschvogel would then drive in Diaz with a sacrifice fly to left field to extend the lead to 6-2. Blackburn would add a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to make it 6-3.
The Blue Jays would break open the game in the top of the sixth inning. Wolken led off the inning with a single to right. Lukins would walk and Wolken would move up to second. Whitehead would reach first on an error by the pitcher that would score both Lukins and Wolken to make it 8-3. Whitehead would end up on third base. Mayton reached first on an error by the first baseman and Whitehead scored to make it 9-3. Mayton stole second base. Shikles would then crush his sixth home run of the season to dead center to increase the lead to 11-3. Adelson tripled to right field. Hirschvogel then lined a RBI single to left to make it 12-3. Hirschvogel then stole second. Green would double to left to drive in Hirschvogel to make it 13-3. Blackburn would score two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to ensure the game would continue making it 13-5.
Lukins would add an RBI single in the top of the eighth inning to make it 14-5. The Blue Jays would score on an error and a two-run triple by Green in the top of the ninth to make the final score 17-5.
Trent Morrow (Russelville, Mo. / Russellville) would turn in a solid performance when the Jays needed it most. He would work seven innings giving up five runs, three earned, on 12 hits. Morrow (2-5) would strikeout three batters while walking none in getting the win. Sam Owen (Katy, Tx. / Cinco Ranch) would work one and two thirds' innings giving up no runs on two hits while striking out two and walking no one. Hayden Torpey (Independence, MO / Truman) would come on in the ninth inning to get the last out of the game.