Missouri Western baseball split their first weekend going 2-2 versus the No. 17 Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys in Russellville, Arkansas, this past weekend.
In game one, early season rust was evident with Western giving up three errors and losing a close 5-4 ballgame. Grant Woods was the starting pitcher going 5.1 innings and giving up six hits and two earned runs.
Notable batters in game one, Ryan Degner and D’Andre Heggie, doubled. David Glaude had his first home run of the early season.
The winning pitcher was Ryan Vruggink of Arkansas Tech, who won on less than an inning pitched; the losing pitcher was Josh Lansangan of Missouri Western.
Missouri Western won in come-from-behind fashion in game two on Friday. While the Griffons struck first with another Ryan Degner home run, they quickly fell behind 1-5 to Arkansas Tech in the fourth inning.
In the fifth, the Griffons closed the gap with a 2-run inning that had Cosimo Cannella doubling to left center to drive in Orencie Fisher and Cody Childs. Arkansas Tech would add one more in the sixth on a sacrifice fly, making the game 3-6 Wonder Boys.
The seventh and final inning was all Griffons. Fisher drove in Child to pull within two. Then, Cannella doubled in the game again to drive in Koch and Fisher, tying the game back up. Brandon Downs then drove in Cannella to take the lead.
The Griffons didn’t look back from there as they added two more in the seventh, cruising to a 9-6 win in game two of the four game set. Banks Born talked about team’s comeback.
“This team, we don’t stop. We saw a door open and we took advantage of it,” Born said.
Cannella played big with his four RBIs in the game. A.J. Martinez got his first win of the season and Richard Peoples picked up his first save.
Griffons won big in game three on Saturday, beating Arkansas Tech 10-4 in nine innings. Five different Griffons had an RBI as the love was spread around all the batters.
Trevor LaHonta and Glaude both lead the way with three hits and an RBI each. One of Saturday’s biggest performers was starting pitcher Born, who went five innings. Born succeeded, only giving up three hits, one earned run and striking out five.
“We had a big game plan and we stuck with it, and I believe that if we continue to stick with it from weekend to weekend we will have success through the season,” Born said.
Missouri Western also took a page out of last year’s Kansas City Royals figuring out “what speed do” with three stolen bases, one each by Degner, Fisher and Childs in Saturday’s first game.
The finals of the game were Born earning his first win of 2015 and Skelton of Arkansas Tech getting the loss.
Game four of the set was pretty bleak. Our Griffons lost 11-2 in seven innings.
Arkansas Tech got out to a lead first, scoring on a wild pitch in the first inning.
Western showed the most life in the second when LaHonta singled to bring in Childs to tie it at one, as well as Glaude scoring on a throwing error by the Wonder Boys’ third baseman to put the Griffons ahead.
After that, the wheels fell off and Arkansas Tech went on to score 10 unanswered runs in four innings. Highlights for the Griffons were LaHonta going two for three in the game with an RBI.
Tyler Tuepker got the loss for the Griffons and Jones of Arkansas Tech was the winning pitcher.
Big performers of the weekend were starting pitcher Born with his five strikeout win on Saturday and LaHonta for going 8-17 with an average of .470 of the weekend.
The Missouri Western baseball team travels to Arkansas again this upcoming weekend on Feb. 7 and 8 to face Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.