Baseball Splits in Home Opening Series

The CSM Baseball team finally got to play a series on their own grass the weekend of March 8. Mines went against the Colorado Christian University Cougars for the four game set, winning the first two games 14-4 and 11-2, and losing Sunday’s matches 4-1 and 11-1.

Friday’s game was carried by the offense, although the pitching was not bad at all. Junior right-hander Ben Gilman gave up four runs (three of which scored after Gilman left the mound) on four hits while walking four, but fanned six Cougars while picking up the victory. Freshman righty Nathan Smythe came on in the 7th to relieve Gilman and capped off the game with an official scoreless one and one-third innings.

The offense ignited in the bottom of the first with two runs, one of which came on a double steal of second base and home. But the six-run explosion happened in the 6th inning, with the Orediggers capitalizing on a throwing error and playing small ball to score Nathan Fishel, Logan Smith, Charlie Basil, Zach Bothwell, Derek Skrdlant, and Cody Marvel. Bothwell, Evan Brown, and A.J. Schillinger collected singles in the inning, and Fishel started everything with a walk. Fishel also hit a home run in the eighth, which ended the game, as the teams agreed on a run rule of ten.

The Orediggers continued to fire on all cylinders Saturday afternoon, scoring 11 runs, this time spreading them out a bit. Mines scored two in the first on sophomore Nate Olinger’s home run, and then four in the second, one in the third and fifth, and three in the sixth to add some extra insurance. Olinger, Brown, and sophomore Christian Rooney each had two hits in the second game.

On the mound, Mines shut down CCU. Sophomore righty Tommy Rodgers was credited with the win and went five full innings, giving up all of CCU’s seven hits but allowing only two runs to score (one unearned). Senior Peter Herrin and junior Brandon Storm then came out of the bullpen, both right-handers, and pitched perfect sixth and seventh innings respectively. Rodgers, Herrin, and Storm struck out one batter a piece.

Sunday’s double header did not bode as well for the Miners, however. CSM put up a good fight, as Sunday’s opener was decided in the final inning as CCU hit back-to-back home runs, ending Mines’ three-game win streak with the 11-10 result. The bats were still hot, with Olinger, Schillinger, Bothwell, and Skrdlant all having multi-hit games. Both of Bothwell’s and three of Skrdlant’s hits went for doubles, and junior Rey Chavarria also contributed with an RBI double.

The finale was the closest thing to a pitcher’s duel that the weekend would see, with CCU taking the win 4-1. Rooney went six innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits, while AJ Valerio threw a solid seventh inning, only giving up a single.

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