Bulldogs take two from Ottawa at home on Saturday

After a lackluster performance on Thursday against Missouri Valley College, the McPherson College baseball team got back on track by taking the first two games of a three game series against the Ottawa University Braves.
The Bulldogs hosted the Braves at Bulldog Park, and Mother Nature welcomed both teams with temps in the lower 40s and winds out of the northwest gusting over 30 mph. Despite the sketchy conditions, the Bulldogs made the most of their circumstances, taking the opening game of the series 13-3, then winning the second game of Saturday's double header 5-4 on a walk off hit.
Josh Lewis and Dylan Marble combined for the victory from the mound. Lewis got the start and was credited with the win, working the first five innings, giving up three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and just two walks. Marble come on in relief of Lewis in the sixth inning. He pitched the final three innings, recording five strikeouts, and holding the Braves scoreless on just two hits.
At the plate, the Bulldogs pushed across 13 runs on 16 hits, led by Mark Strebin and Trevor Johnson, who were both a perfect 3-for-3 on the day. Two of Strebin's three hits were doubles, and he scored four of the Bulldogs' runs. Johnson also had two extra base hits, a pair of home runs that drove in five runs. Brevin Baessler also had a multi-hit game, going 3-for-5 with a run scored, and three more driven in.
The Braves led the Bulldogs 3-0 through an inning and a half. In the bottom of the second, the Bulldogs got on the board and took the lead with four runs. They added another in the third, but then went scoreless for a couple of innings. They broke back into the scoring column in the sixth when Johnson hit the first of his two home runs, a two run shot. Leading 7-3, the Bulldogs sealed the win by putting up six runs in the bottom of the eighth, ending the game via the run rule.
In game two, the Bulldogs sent Garrett Ham to the hill. Ham worked the first four and a third, giving up three runs on five hits, with five strikeouts and three walks. He left with one out in the fifth, and a 4-2 lead. Jarrod Manick came on in relief of Ham, pitching the next two and a third. Manick was credited with just one run on three hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Mairion Brunken came out of the pen in the top of the seventh. He faced one batter, recording one out and picked up the win, his first of the season.
The Bulldog offense scored five runs on eight hits, led by Jakob Shields, Lane Fleming and Johnson, who were all 2-for-3. Seven of the eight Bulldog hits were of the one base variety, the eighth was a two run home run by Dominick Ramos.
The Bulldogs got on the board first in game two, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second, on Johnson's home run. Two innings later, the Braves cut the Bulldog lead in half in their half of the fourth. Half an inning later, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 4-1. From there, the Braves scored three unanswered runs and tied the game at four heading into the final inning, setting up some drama.
Fleming was first up for the Bulldogs in the bottom of the seventh. He rolled over a ball, but the Braves' shortstop overthrew first base allowing Fleming to advance to second. The next two Bulldog hitters reached base, being hit by a pitch and loading the bases for Johnson, the hero from game one. Johnson worked the count to 3-2, and then tagged a fastball down the line, scoring Hunter Dreiling, who was pinch running for Fleming. The run gave the Bulldogs a 5-4 victory, and improved their record to 11-7 overall, and 6-3 in the KCAC.
Coach Moses commented on the wins saying, "Great day for the dogs at Bulldog Park. Both the softball and baseball teams came out on top today in a combined four games. I think the players fed off the energy of having both sports out there at once. Nice to see a lot of Bulldog fans."
At 6-3 in the conference, the Bulldogs are now at third place alone in the standings. They will get a chance to improve upon that conference mark tomorrow at 2 p.m. when they play Ottawa again in the series finale.