Baseball competes in conference play
Although on paper they were considered the visitors, the University of Indianapolis baseball team played host to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers, splitting in a doubleheader on the afternoon of Sunday, March 30. In a series that was originally scheduled to take place at Wisconsin-Parkside but moved to UIndy due to inclement weather, the Greyhounds won the first game 3-1, but they were edged out in the second, 3-2.
The Greyhounds drew first blood in the first game at the top of the third inning, then added to that lead during the top of the seventh with another run. The Rangers would not go away easily, however, as they added a run of their own during the bottom of the seventh to make it a one-run game. The Greyhounds held off the opposition, though, keeping Wisconsin-Parkside scoreless and scoring another run at the top of the ninth.
In the second game, it was the Greyhounds who trailed early, after Wisconsin-Parkside scored on two runs during the bottom of the second. After three scoreless innings, UIndy climbed its way back into the game with two runs of its own at the top of the sixth. Yet, in the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded and just one out, the Rangers grounded into a fielder’s choice, leading to a Rangers’ victory and series tie.
The Greyhounds played a single game against the Oakland City University Mighty Oaks last Wednesday, March 26, winning by a lopsided score of 12-1.
After trailing by one run since the first inning, UIndy put together a statistically impressive fifth inning, scoring nine runs. The Greyhounds added onto their lead in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three more runs, thanks to a two-out, bases-loaded double by redshirt freshman catcher Nick Beyer.
The Mighty Oaks were given one more opportunity to earn runs at the top of the seventh but failed to do so, putting into effect the 10-run rule and awarding the Greyhounds the victory. The Greyhounds’ victory as a result of the 10-run rule was the second consecutive game for UIndy to end in that fashion.
UIndy split a series of doubleheaders at home against the Truman State University Bulldogs, the weekend before, on March 21 and 22, taking its record to 9-11.
In the first doubleheader against the Bulldogs on Friday, March 21, UIndy took an early lead in the first game in the bottom of the first, when junior outfielder Joe Trennepohl created a single RBI, while junior outfielder Zach Jacobs claimed his fourth homer of the season during the bottom of the fourth, bringing the score to 2-0.
UIndy claimed three more runs and held Truman to one, creating a 5-3 advantage through the seventh inning. But when the Bulldogs stepped up to the plate during the top of the eighth, they trounced UIndy with seven runs and two more in the ninth, giving Truman the 10-5 win.
Head Baseball Coach Gary Vaught said that he was unhappy with the team’s pitching in the last two innings.
“The inning that they scored all the runs, I don’t think we could have put it on a tee, set it on a tee, and it would be better,” he said.
The second game, however, was the opposite. Truman took an early 6-0 lead after scoring two runs in the first, and four more during the top of second. UIndy responded with three runs in the bottom of the same inning, but Truman claimed three more runs in the top of the third, bringing the score to 9-3. UIndy held the Bulldogs to that score, however, as the Greyhounds fought back.
Redshirt sophomore pitcher Scott Mitchell helped hold the Bulldogs at bay. Mitchell pitched just over four innings, striking out four batters and allowing just one hit.
With an RBI from UIndy’s junior infielder Kenny Mahala in the bottom of the third and a two-run homer from Trennepohl in the fourth, the Greyhounds started to close the gap. The Greyhounds claimed two more runs in the sixth, bringing the score to 9-8.
In the seventh and final inning, the Greyhounds had two outs when sophomore second baseman Anthony Asalon tied the game with a home run. Redshirt sophomore catcher Alex Ritchie stepped up to the plate next and knocked another home run out of the park, bringing the Greyhounds the victory, 10-9.
Freshman pitcher Jordan Tackett said that the team played self-destructively during some innings, which meant they had to work harder at the end.
“We pulled together the second game, and we got our win,” Tackett said. “We came together as a team, battled back, and had two back-to-back runs to take the lead and win.”
The Greyhounds went into Saturday’s doubleheader with a chip on their shoulder, according to Vaught. However, the Greyhounds repeated the first game of the day the same way they did the day before, taking an early lead but losing, 7-5.
In the bottom of the fourth, UIndy secured a 5-0 lead with a double RBI from Ritchie. Truman responded in the fifth inning with four runs, so the Greyhounds brought in junior pitcher Brett Collins, who struck out the next two Truman hitters. Collins then shut out the Bulldogs in the sixth, but Truman came back in the seventh inning, claiming three more runs, which led to the Greyhound loss.
The Greyhounds came back with a vengeance in the second game against the Bulldogs. Asalon made it home on an RBI in the bottom of the first. Then, with the bases loaded, Mahala sent a grand slam into right field. The ball ricocheted off the Athletics and Recreation Center as the Greyhounds took a 5-0 lead.
The Bulldogs claimed just one run in the rest of the contest, as the Greyhounds continued to dominate throughout the game. The Greyhounds claimed the 11-1 victory as a result of the 10-run rule, after Tackett shut down the Bulldogs in the seventh inning.
With the game being Tackett’s second full game and fifth appearance as a pitcher, he said that seeing a large amount of playing time as a freshman has been an honor.
“They said I’d be a weekend starter, but I didn’t expect to see four starts already,” he said. “And now I’ve got two complete games under my belt already with my last two appearances.”
Vaught said that he was happy with Tackett’s performance, but he added that the team should have taken all four games. He said that once some of the team’s injured players come back, he expects the team to do better.
“Our kids are hustling, and now we’re finally getting to play outside,” he said. “So we were worried about hitting, but now we’re starting to swing it and hit the ball. We’ve got to pitch a little better … and I thought that [pitching] would be our strength this year.”
The Greyhounds return home for a four-game series against the Lewis University Flyers April 5-6. Both days will include doubleheaders, with the first games starting at 12 p.m. followed by the second games at 3 p.m.