The McPherson College Baseball team improved to 25-10 on the season, picking up a pair of wins at Bulldog Park on Wednesday afternoon against its crosstown rival the Central Christian College Tigers.
With a stiff Kansas wind blowing out to left field, the doubleheader turned into a slug fest with the Bulldogs pounding out 28 hits, which turned into 30 runs between the two games. Nearly half of the Bulldog hits went for extra bases, including seven doubles, and five home runs. The hit parade led to an 18-10 victory for the Bulldogs in game one, and then they topped the Tigers in the finale 12-6.
The starting pitcher for the Bulldogs in game one was Garrett Ham, just two days removed from having to exit his last appearance after being hit in the chest by a line drive off the bat of one of the Friends University Falcons. The conditions out at Bulldog Park were tough on the pitchers, and this start for Ham probably didn't turn out like he envisioned when he took the mound. He missed his spots on a few pitches, and the Tiger hitters took advantage. They touched Ham for six runs on four hits, ending his day after only 1.2 innings. The defense behind him was also a little suspicious. The Bulldogs committed two errors in the first two innings, which turned into four unearned runs on Ham's stat line.
Tyler Norris came out of the pen to relieve Ham in the top of the second. Norris got the final out of the inning then worked the next two. The lefty had everything working for him, retiring seven straight hitters, four of them with strikeouts, in picking up the win. Next out of the pen was Jake Herman, who got in two innings of work, and then Tyler Dunn, who pitched the final inning. Herman's stat line included three runs on five hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Dunn finished out the game by striking out three of the four hitters he faced. The fourth Tiger hitter elevated a ball that was left over the middle of the plate, over the center field fence, which was the only blemish on an otherwise stellar inning of work.
Nine different Bulldog players found their way on to the box score in the hits column led by Brevin Baessler and Trevor Johnson. Baessler had a perfect day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with three doubles, three runs scored and three other runs batted in. Johnson's day included a 3-for-5 performance, with three home runs and four RBI. Other Bulldogs with multiple hits were Lane Fleming, who was 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and two RBIs; Dominick Ramos, who went 2-for-3, also with two singles and an RBI; and Jakob Shields, who was 2-for-3 with two walks, four runs scored and four more driven in. In his final at bat, he came to the plate with the bases loaded. He got a pitch he liked, took a "daddy hack" at it and launched it over the left field fence, sending the Bulldog dugout into a frenzy.
In the finale, the hits kept coming for the Bulldogs. They scored 12 runs in game two off of 11 hits, including doubles by Baessler, Johnson and Joe Kraus. The game also included another home run for Johnson, his fourth of the day, and the sixth of the season. Kraus, Johnson and McCoy Pearce were the three Tigers to hit safely in at least two of their plate appearances. Kraus and Pearce were both 2-for-4, with Pearce recording a pair of singles, and Krause, a single and a double and three RBI. Johnson, a double and a home run in his three at-bats to go along with two RBI. Johnson finished the day going 5- for-8 with six RBIs and 18 total bases.
Pitching for the Bulldogs was Jacob Esch. Esch was making just his third appearance for the Bulldogs, and his first start, but you couldn't tell. He was aces on the mound for the Bulldogs, going four strong innings, and allowing just one run on three hits, with five strikeouts and no walks. With four innings of work, he picked up his first collegiate win. In the final three innings, the Bulldogs called Brett Carter and Adam Tabor out of the bullpen. Carter went two innings, and held the Tigers scoreless on just two hits. Tabor hit a little bit of a snag in his one inning of work. Tigers touched him for five runs on five hits, and he had two walks and one strikeout.
"Hats off to Coach (Stephen) McNett and his staff," Bulldog Head coach Bryan Moses said. "I feel strongly that they have the culture of the program moving in the right direction. There was certainly some talent on that Tigers team. I look forward to seeing them grow every year in the Sooner Conference. For us, it was great to get two wins, but there is still work to do. Congrats to Esch for getting his first win."
Next up for the Bulldogs, it is back to KCAC action this weekend on the road against the University of St. Mary Spires. Mac will play a three-game series against the Spires, starting with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m., and then finishing the series with a single nine on Sunday, also starting at 1 p.m.