OKLAHOMA CITY, OK—The McPherson College baseball team picked up another split in Saturday's double header against Mid-America Christian University. The Bulldogs took game one, 8-6, then fell in the series finale 6-5, on another walk-off hit, this one a single.
Garrett Connor got the start for the Bulldogs in game one. He went five strong innings, allowing just two runs on three hits. He struck out seven, and walked just one, in picking up his first win of the season. Brett Carter and Jarrod Manick came on in relief of Connor. Carter worked just two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on one hit, while Manick pitched an inning and a third, allowing the other two Evangel runs on a pair of hits.
The offense for the Bulldogs produced eight runs on ten hits, led by a perfect day at the dish for Kristopher Perez. Perez went 3-for-3 with an RBI, a stolen base, and two runs scored. Kyle Lux also recorded a multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with a pair of singles. The five other Bulldog hits were singles by Lane Fleming, Brevin Baessler and Mark Strebin and a pair of doubles by Bo Slaymaker and Justin Risdall.
The Bulldogs scored one in the top of the first, then broke the game open with four more in the top of the third. The Evangels scored a pair of run in their half of the fifth to cut the lead to 5-2. In the sixth, the Bulldogs tacked on another run while the Evangels added a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning. McPherson got two big insurance runs in the top of the seventh, which they needed because the Evangels made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs of their own. In the end, Manick got the Evangels' Luis Sanchez to fly out to deep left-center field to end the game.
In the series finale, the Bulldogs turned to Tyler Norris on the bump. Norris worked the first two and two-thirds, giving up three runs on four hits with four strikeouts and just one free pass. Josh Lewis , came on in relief of Norris, with two out in the third inning. He gave the Bulldogs three more innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He fanned six Evangel hitters and walked none, but didn't factor into the decision.
Jordan Keanini, got the final batter of the sixth inning and the first batter of the seventh. He face three Evangels, getting two outs and walking one. The final pitcher of the afternoon for the Bulldogs was Jake Herman, who worked just one-third of an inning. He was collared with the loss, giving up the walk-off single that drove in the final Evangel run to win the game.
The Bulldog hitters continued to swing the bats well in game two. They finished with five runs on eight hits, led by Strebin, who was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, an RBI and a run scored. Lux and Baessler both recorded extra base hits, each with a double, while Perez, Fleming, Dominick Ramos and Desmond Grayson, all had singles.
Game two was scoreless through the first two innings. The Bulldogs took the lead with four runs in the top of the third, but gave three of them back to the Evangels in the next half inning. MACU held the Bulldogs scoreless in the top of the fourth, then tied the game at four in their next at bat. An inning later they took the lead from the Bulldogs 5-4, and looked to be in control of the game. The Bulldogs rallied with two out in the seventh to push a fifth run across and tie the game, but the Evangels scored the game winner on single up the middle, with the bases loaded in their final at bat.
"I'm proud of the fight we showed in this series" said Bulldog head coach Bryan Moses. "We pitched well, and we swung it when we needed to. Bottom line, if we play catch, we sweep."
With the split, the Bulldogs are 2-2 to start the season. The plan is to play their home opener next weekend, weather permitting, against the Viterbo University "V-Hawks". The two teams will square off in a double header starting at 12 p.m. on Friday afternoon, then play two more on Saturday beginning at 11 am.