Western baseball couldn’t produce enough runs to avoid getting swept in a double header by Emporia State (16-7, 12-6) at Griffon Spring Sports Complex and fell to 15-9 on the season and 8-6 in MIAA conference play.
“We just weren’t really that prepared mentally to play today and that cost us,” coach Buzz Verduzco said.
The Griffons got out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of game one as Spencer Shockley singled in David Chew and Nate Rambler, but couldn’t get any more runs for the rest of the game.
“When we get runners on we have to come up with big hits that fall in the gaps and we just aren’t really getting it done right now,” Shockley said. “We just got to go to work and practice and figure out ways to score runners.”
Oliver Kadey pitched five solid innings in his first start of the season, giving up five hits and one earned run. Western was up 2-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning before a walk, hit and an error gave Emporia the 3-2 lead. The Griffons couldn’t get any offense in the bottom of the seventh and Hornets relief pitcher Brandon Faulkner picked up the save.
Western pitcher Brandon Simmons took the loss and his record fell to 5-2 on the season after the heart-breaking loss.
“We have a chance to win and if you can’t close it out with our best guy on the mound then maybe we don’t deserve to win it,” Verduzco said.
Mason Queen started game two, but was taken out after two innings and replaced by Matt Bergin after giving up a run in the first and struggling in the second.
“I think the tempo was kind of set because we had trouble throwing strikes,” Verduzco said. “We had to make the change and Bergin came in and did a great job.”
Bergin was solid in relief, but the Hornets scored three runs in the fifth inning and it was all they needed as the Griffons were never able to get the bats going.
Michael Schulze scored the Griffons lone run of the game in the first inning. The Griffons came up with seven hits, but weren’t able to advance the runners into scoring position.
“We couldn’t string any hits together,” Verduzco said. “Primarily our record speaks for itself because of what the pitching staff has done. We haven’t been as offensive as we need to be up to this point, so we are going to try to make some moves and give some other kids a chance to play and try to produce some runs where we can.”
Western was on a 10-game winning streak that included a four-game sweep over conference opponent No. 11 ranked Missouri Southern before dropping its last three games.
“When we were winning we had good intensity,” Shockley said. “Here the last couple days our intensity hasn’t been where it needs to be and we have to figure out that too.”
The Griffons will look to get back on the winning track in a four game series against Washburn at the GSSC over the weekend.
“Hopefully we can come back out and play at the top of our game and get where we need to be in the conference so we can make the regional,” Shockley said. “We just have to get back on track.”