After winter made a brief comeback this weekend, pushing the McPherson College baseball team's three game series with the Friends University Falcons back a day, Sunday dawned calm and beautiful, a perfect day for a doubleheader.
The Bulldogs entered the day, riding a seven game winning streak. They extended that streak to eight games, taking game one in a slug fest, 12-7. In the second game, the streak came to an end as the Bulldogs fell to the Falcons 6-2.
In the opener, Josh Lewis got the start, but didn't factor into the decision. He worked the first two and a third, allowing four runs in five hits, with a pair of strikeouts and five walks. With one out in the third, Brett Carter came out of the pen in relief of Lewis. His stat line included four and a third innings pitched with three runs on two hits with one strikeout and two walks. The Bulldogs took the lead for the first time while Carter was on the hill, giving him the win. Mairion Brunken pitched the final two and a third, holding the Falcons scoreless, while scattering four hits.
At the plate, the Bulldogs scored 12 runs on 12 hits, led by Dominick Ramos, who was 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, leading to five RBI. Joining Ramos with a multi-hit performance were Trevor Johnson, who was 2-for-5 with a double, a run scored and one RBI, and Mark Strebin, who finished the day going 2-for-3 with a homerun, three runs scored and two more driven in.
In game two, the Bulldogs struggled to push runs across the plate. They managed to connect on eight hits, seven of them of the single base variety, but scored just two runs, stranding eight runners on base. Six of the eight hits came from three Bulldog hitters. Jakob Shields was a perfect 2-for-2 with a single, a double, and two runs scored. He also had a walk and was plunked on the left hip with fastball. Lane Fleming and Hunter Dreiling were the other two Bulldogs with multiple hits, both going 2 for 3 with a pair of singles.
The Bulldogs sent five different arms to the mound in Sunday's finale, beginning with Garrett Connor. Connor worked the first four and two-thirds, giving up four runs on nine hits, with four strikeouts and no walks. He was cruising along, staked to a 2-1 lead until the fifth inning when one swing from the Falcons ended his day. With two outs, one of the Falcons hit a triple off the left centerfield wall, scoring two runs and giving the Falcons the lead 3-2. The Bulldogs would not be able to regain the lead the rest of the way, shackling Connor with the loss.
After Connor, four Bulldogs combined for the final two and third innings. Garrett Ham pitched the remainder of the fifth inning, then it was Jake Herman (Jr. San Diego, Calif.) in the sixth. In the seventh, Adam Tabor got the first two outs, then gave up the ball to Jacob Esch, who struck out the only batter he faced, on three straight pitches. Those four combined to give up three runs on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
"Friends had a couple really good starters on the mound today," said Bulldog head coach Bryan Moses. "We just weren't able to match their energy in game two, but we are looking forward to the rubber match tomorrow."
With the split, the Bulldogs are now 22-10 on the season and 13-6 in the KCAC. As Coach Moses alluded to, the Bulldogs and Falcons will wrap up their series tomorrow afternoon at Bulldog Park. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.