Baseball’s two-week trip to Texas started out in Odessa, where the Orediggers took on Tarleton State and UT-Permian Basin for three games. Mines won the first two games 3-1 and 5-1 and lost Sunday’s game 6-2.
Sophomore righty Christian Rooney took the mound for the opener on Saturday, throwing a solid 7 and two-thirds innings with three hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. The only run that Tarleton State scored was unearned from advancement on an illegal pitch in the eighth inning. The game remained scoreless until the eighth inning, when Mines struck first, scoring the three runs in the top of the inning, allowing Rooney to be credited with the win.
Freshman infielder Logan Smith started off the run manufacturing by walking to lead off the eighth. Junior catcher A.J. Schillinger was promptly hit by a pitch, and after a bunt out, senior Derek Skrdlant came up to the plate and singled to right-center field, scoring Smith. Skrdlant would then get out at second on a fielder’s choice, but that allowed Schillinger to score and sophomore outfielder Nate Olinger to reach first. Olinger then swiped second base and scored on junior infielder Zach Bothwell’s single to left.
Sophomore right-hander Brett Kovach got Tarleton to fly out in the ninth, but then gave up two singles. Olinger would then come in from right field to take the mound and pitch to the remaining two batters and pick up the save.
Mines took on Texas Permian Basin next, in a two-game series. Saturday’s 5-1 win consisted of the Orediggers scoring one run in the third, and then two runs in the fifth and sixth. Senior DH Patrick Ihme and Nate Olinger led the offense, going two for five, with Olinger’s third-inning double scoring Ihme.
It was pitcher Ben Gilman who would keep Permian at Bay, however. In the performance that would precede his naming of Athlete of the Week by Mines, the righty would throw seven complete innings, making the Permian batters go hitless, and allowing two walks but fanning three.
The Orediggers were excited to have won two out of three games in Texas, usually a tough state to open the season in. Sunday’s game against UT Permian Basin did not go as hoped, however. Despite Mines scoring twice (one run on a wild pitch, one unearned run on a throwing error) and striking first, UTPB’s four-run inning would set the outcome, and Mines would have to settle for a series split. Sophomore righty Tommy Rodgers would take the loss, although only two of the four runs scored while he was pitching were earned. Rodgers went five innings and struck out four batters.
The baseball team returned again to Texas the following week, this time going all the way to San Angelo, TX to play No. 25 Angelo State. The four-game series did not go as well as the previous week had, though, as Mines lost the first three games 10-1, 6-5, and 7-2. Nate Olinger had the brightest pitching performance of the three games, going five full innings in Saturday’s 6-5 loss, allowing two earned runs and striking out three. That game was back-and forth, with Angelo State scoring three runs in the seventh to walk off with the victory. Mines’ bats were led by pitchers. Christian Rooney played left field in this game but went one-for-two with two RBIs, and the pitcher Olinger, who batted in the leadoff spot, went one-for-four with a double. Also on the offensive side, A.J. Schillinger got two hits in his three at bats, and also scored twice.
The Orediggers return to Colorado next weekend, when they will play at Regis in another away series.