The Griffons played 13 games since March 3, going 10-3 in that time. Western is 16-8 overall and 8-5 in the MIAA. At the halfway point of the season, the Griffons find themselves in seventh place.
Western traveled to Bolivar to play a three-game series against Southwest Baptist March 3-5. The offense continued to be very productive, scoring 25 runs in the series. The pitching staff continued to struggle, allowing 31 runs in the series. The Griffons took the first game, 16-15. Infielder Cosimo Cannella led the offensive charge, going four for six at the plate and driving in five runs.
In game two, the offense was unable to keep up with Southwest’s offense. The Bearcats throttled the Griffons 11-2. Right fielder Parker Mertz was the only Griffon with multiple hits and starting pitcher Conner Schwienabart yielded 10 runs in four and a third innings of work.
Western took the rubber match 7-5. It was not easy for the Griffons, scoring six runs in the ninth inning off of Bearcat pitcher Brian Womack. Infielder Jeremy Alvarado led the way with three hits and an RBI.
Western’s next series was a doubleheader against Drury University on March 7. The Griffons had it going both offensively and defensively, scoring 29 runs and allowing just seven. Western took game one 15-4. Catcher Brandon Downs went three for four and drove in three runs. Game two went about the same with the Griffons winning 14-3. Outfielder Nick Gawley had two hits and drove in four runs. Head coach Buzz Verduzco believes the mid-week doubleheaders have been good for his team.
“We’ve played very, very well in those doubleheaders,” Verduzco said.
The Griffons welcomed Pittsburg State University to the Spring Sports Complex for a three-game series on March 10 and 11. Western took care of business, sweeping the Gorillas in convincing fashion.
The Thursday matchup saw Pittsburg State jump on the home team early and took a 6-0 lead into the eighth inning. The Griffons offense then came alive, scoring seven runs, and held that lead in the ninth inning. Infielder David Glaude led the team with three RBIs in the win.
There were plenty of fireworks offensively in the second game of the series, but it was Western who won 17-10. The Griffons had a season high 18 hits in the game. Once again, Glaude was the catalyst for the offense driving in four runs. Catcher Brandon Downs had a big day at the plate as well. Downs had three hits and four RBIs for Western.
“I like how we’re swinging the bats to this point, that part’s been really nice,” Verduzco said.
In the final game of the series it was the pitching staff who led the Griffons to their 4-0 win. Pitchers Evan Jones, Jared Lloyd and Preston Baily combined nine shutout innings, four strikeouts and just six hits. Glaude went two for two in the game.
“Some of those pitchers who were struggling early are finally starting to come around,” Verduzco said.
Missouri Western took to the road for a doubleheader at Truman State. The Griffons took both games against the Bulldogs, 6-1 and 19-9.
Glaude continued what he started offensively in the previous series. In game one, Glaude had three hits and two RBIs. Pitcher Alex Clavet led the pitching staff on the mound, throwing six solid innings, allowing one run and fanning four batters.
The Griffons had themselves a day offensively in game two, scoring 19 runs on 28 hits. The 28 hits were the most by any Missouri Western team in the school’s history.
Third baseman Jeremy Alvarado also set new records for homeruns in a game with three and for total bases with 13. Jones did his part on the mound for Western, throwing three shutout innings to start the game.
The Griffons struggled in their last series, losing two of three to Missouri Southern State University. Western’s pitching struggled in the first two games, allowing 14 runs in game one and 12 runs in game two.
Schweienebart started game one for Missouri Western, allowing five runs over two and two-third innings. Caindec came in to relieve Schweienebart in the third but had much of the same luck, yielding six runs over two and a third. Alvarado drove in Western’s only runs of the game.
Game two, Western saw much of the same from their offense and pitching staff. Pitcher Richard Peoples started the game and allowed just two runs over four innings. The Griffons’ bullpen couldn’t keep them in the game, allowing 10 runs over three innings.
“We didn’t quite throw the ball how we wanted or play good defense,” said Verduzco.
Western was able to bounce back in the final game of the series, winning 12-2. The Griffons finished with 14 hits and seven walks.
Alvarado finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, going four for four with five RBIs. Glaude continued his hot hitting at the plate, going three for four with an RBI. Western was able to rest their bullpen thanks to a complete game performance from Jones. Jones allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings.
The Griffons are 8-5 in the MIAA and 16-8 overall.