Dylan Fontenot snagged a three-run home run in the seventh inning and drove in four overall as McPherson College topped Central Christian College, 11-3, in a nonconference baseball game Tuesday night at Light Capital Diamond.
The Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead, taking advantage of three McPherson errors. Shomari Cann scored on a Justin Freas RBI groundout in the first, while Laramie Lumley drove in Chance Carney with an RBI single up the middle in the third, then came around to score on a Nate Patterson fielder's choice.
Central Christian's lead could have been greater, however, as the Tigers stranded six batters over the first three frames.
McPherson tied the game with three runs in the fourth. Two runs came across on a Fontenot RBI single. Fontenot later scored on a Jakob Shields RBI double to right-center.
Trevor Haycock led off the fifth with a double to left-center off CCC starter Bailey Jay. Jay was relieved by Christopher Sanchez, who gave up a single to Lane Fleming to put runners at the corners. A balk plated Haycock, while Fleming later scored when Dominick Ramos reached on an error to make it 5-3.
The Bulldogs tacked on another run in the fifth on an RBI groundout by Jackson Goodmiller, then added three more in the seventh on Fontenot's blast to left.
After a scoreless eighth, McPherson plated two final runs in the top of the ninth inning. Reily Martin scored on a Mark Strebin sacrifice fly. After reaching on a walk, Fontenot scored courtesy of three Chris White wild pitches.
"I think [tonight] showed we are a little bit more of a well-rounded team than we have shown in past games or past series," said assistant coach Kyle MacKinnon. "On the mound we were stellar. We were clean defensively in the second half of the game. It leads us into another conference series that I think we can go out and get, and, hopefully, we play a little bit better 'team' baseball moving forward."
Five Bulldog pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts in the contest. Garrett Connor got the start on the mound for McPherson, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out three. Cameron Oram picked up the win, striking out four while allowing one hit in two innings of work. Josh Lewis, Tyler Dunn and Jarrod Manick each threw one scoreless inning with Lewis and Manick striking out the side.
"It was a big day for the staff, especially after the last four or five games, playing in some brutal conditions and not having much success [against Ottawa]," added pitching coach Kasey Guinty. "To come out and do what they did tonight was huge. Garrett Connor didn't have his best stuff tonight, but he battled through four innings. He went out for the fifth and gave up a free pass and a bloop single to force us to make a change. With no outs and runners on first and second, though, Cameron Oram did a great job to come on and shut the door, so that was a big confidence boost for him. The three guys we had finish the game all came in, worked ahead [in the count] and pounded the [strike] zone, so that was nice to see. I think a game like that really can turn the momentum around for our pitching staff."
Fontenot and Haycock finished with two hits apiece with Fontenot driving in four.
Jay took the loss, allowing four runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks in four innings.
Lumley led CCC with two hits.
"[Tonight] our guys really played baseball the way it should be played," noted assistant coach Dylan Klava. "For one of the first times this season, you saw our guys having fun, playing as a team and really enjoying baseball. A lot of kids forget to have fun out there, but today, it looked like they really had fun."
The Bulldogs return to the diamond Friday afternoon as they kick off a Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) series with Sterling College at Bulldog Park. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.