AUSTIN, Texas — The McPherson College baseball team opened up its 2018 season with a pair of doubleheader sweeps of Huston-Tillotson University at Downs Field.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs (4-0) won game one, 18-2, then took the second game by an 8-2 score. McPherson closed the weekend with wins of 5-2 and 11-1 on Sunday.
Game 1 — McPherson 18, Huston-Tillotson 2
McPherson pounded out 15 hits in the opener, putting seven runs on the board in both the third and fifth innings.
Evan Willow (Victoria, B.C., Canada, Lambrick Park HS), Trent Smith (Wellsville, Kan., Wellsville HS) and Isaac Taylor (Cheyenne, Wyo., Western Nebraska CC) has two hits apiece to lead the Bulldogs. Willow also had two RBIs, two runs scored and drew a pair of walks, while Desmond Grayson (Olathe, Kan., Olathe North HS) went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Trevor Haycock (New Iberia, La., New Iberia Sr. HS) had the lone extra-base hit for McPherson in the game, a bases-clearing triple in the third inning. He also drew three walks and scored three times.
Reily Martin (Auburn, Kan., Hayden HS) had a single with two RBIs, two walks and four runs scored from the leadoff spot in the lineup.
Matthew Green (Torrance, Calif., Brethren Christian HS) allowed two runs on two hits in five innings while striking out 11 to pick up the win on the mound. Javier Saenz (Brighton, Colo., Brighton HS) and Austin Roark (Tulsa, Okla., Memorial HS) each threw an inning of perfect inning in relief.
Game 2 — McPherson 8, Huston-Tillotson 2
In Saturday's second game, the Bulldogs broke a 1-1 tie after five innings with four runs in the sixth and three more in the eight to complete the doubleheader sweep.
Dominick Ramos (Fresno, Calif., Hartnell College) went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Jakob Shields (DeSoto, Kan., DeSoto HS) and Haycock each had two hits and two RBIs.
Chad Gotto (Fresno, Calif., West Hills CC) picked up the win on the mound, allowing two runs on four hits with a strikeout and four walks in 5.1 innings. Brett Carter (Sachse, Texas, Sachse HS) struck out two in 3.2 innings of relief, allowing only an inherited runner to score.
Game 1 — McPherson 5, Huston-Tillotson 2
McPherson broke out for four runs in the top of the fourth inning, then added another in the seventh en route to the 5-2 victory.
The Bulldogs finished with just five hits overall, and just two in their four-run fourth. Their cause was aided by four walks in the frame, including bases-loaded passes issued to Shields and Brevin Baessler (Tempe, Ariz., Western Nebraska CC). Mark Strebin (Westville, Ill., Danville Area CC) also had an RBI single.
Taylor was the only McPherson batter with multiple hits. He also drove in the Bulldogs' run in the seventh with an RBI single to shallow right field.
Luke Whitfield (Berthoud, Colo., Ball State University) got the win, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts in four innings. Bailey Porter (Loveland, Colo., Thompson Valley HS) and Jarrod Manick (Aldergrove, B.C., Canada, Yale Secondary School) combined to allow just two hits with a walk and a pair of strikeouts over the last three innings, with Manick picking up the four-out save.
Game 2 — McPherson 11, Huston-Tillotson 1 (7 inn.)
The Bulldogs scored two runs each in the first and second innings then exploded for seven runs over the final two innings while holding the Rams to just one first-inning run.
Haycock broke out with two hits, including a double, and drove in five and Fleming went 4-for-4 with three RBIs to lead McPherson in the series finale.
Dylan Fontenot (Carencro, La., Carencro HS) added a pair of hits, including a double, as the Bulldogs finished with 10 in the game.
Ajani Dowdy finished 3-for-3 to lead Huston-Tillotson.
Josh Lewis (Loveland, Colo., Thompson Valley HS) gave up one and scattered six hits while striking out nine in his collegiate debut. Christian Casados (Flagstaff, Ariz., Coconino HS) and Tyler Dunn (Lawton, Okla., Eisenhower HS) combined to allow one hit and a pair of walks while striking out one in the seventh to preserve the run-rule victory.
McPherson returns to the Lone Star State for four more games next weekend, facing Texas College (0-0) in a doubleheader on Saturday and Jarvis Christian College (0-0) in a doubleheader on Sunday. Saturday's doubleheader is slated to 2 p.m. in Tyler, Texas, while a noon start is on the schedule for Sunday in Hawkins, Texas.