The McMurry University Baseball team (3-0) finished a three-game sweep of Oklahoma Panhandle State University (0-3) by winning both games of a double header (6-0, 2-1) on Saturday afternoon.
Just like in the previous contest on Friday, the McMurry pitching staff dominated the Aggies up and down the order, holding OPSU to just eight hits combined through both contests.
In the first contest, McM dominated every aspect of the game, defeating the Aggies, 6-0. Veteran righty Spencer Smith, had a great performance on the mound as he pitched a complete game shutout, while throwing only 66 pitches.
McMurry jumped out to an early, 2-0, lead in the bottom of the first inning. After Cody Howard reached first on an error and AJ Dupre was hit by a pitch, Eric Preuss hit a 0-1 count to left-center field, for an RBI double that scored Howard to make the War Hawk lead 1-0. The next batter, Dylan De Leon, also reached base by way of an error, which scored Dupre to extend the lead to 2-0.
Over the next three and a half innings, Smith held the Aggies to just two base runners. Both hits came in the top of the fourth inning. After two singles put runners on first and third with just one out, Smith got a timely double-play to end the threat and preserve the shutout.
It was in the bottom of the fifth that the War Hawks blew the lead wide open, striking for four runs on six hits in the frame. The big blow came from pinch hitter Casey Berryman who took advantage of his first at bat of the season with a two-run double to right-center field, scoring De Leon and Preuss to make the score 6-0.
That would prove to be more than enough for Smith, who allowed just one more base runner over the next two innings, to pick up the complete game shutout. He finished the day with eight strikeouts while allowing just four hits and zero runs.
“Smith's performance today was nearly perfect,” said head coach John Byington. “He has been a great asset for us and we couldn't have asked for a better start to the season from him.”
Offensively, McM was led by a 3-for-3 game from Preuss, as well as two hits from Dupre. Berryman totaled two RBIs while Dupre, Preuss, and De Leon all added one each.
In game two, offense was once again hard to come by for both teams, as the War Hawks' pitching staff out-dueled OPSU, coming away with the 2-1 victory.
For the third straight game, the McM hurlers held the Aggie offense in check allowing just four hits throughout the nine-inning contest.
McM once again got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning as RBIs by Ruben Zendejas and Ricky Garcia gave McMurry the 2-0 lead.
Over the next seven innings, pitchers from both squads held the teams to just eight combined hits.
OPSU would cut the McMurry lead to one in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI ground-out by Ybarra. However, that would be the last run McM would surrender.
After starting pitcher Aaron Burns left the game, having pitched six full innings of work, the combination of Trevor Daggon and Charlie Hejnyheld Panhandle State to just one hit over three full innings while striking out five of the ten batters they faced. Daggon faced the minimum number of batters in two strong innings while not allowing a single hit and striking out three. Hejny then came in to shut the door, and gave up one hit before striking out the final batter to earn his second save of the season.
On the mound, Burns turned in the third-straight quality performance by a McM starting pitcher as he went six strong innings, allowing just one earned run on three hits while striking out five.
Offensively, Zendejas led the way going 2-of-3 with an RBI, while five other War Hawks totaled a hit apiece.
The War Hawks will be back in action next weekend as they travel to Odessa to take on The University of Texas – Permian Basin. The two teams will play a double header on Friday, February 8 before concluding with a nine-inning affair on Saturday, February 9. Double-header action on Friday is scheduled for a noon start.
Information provided by McMurry athletics department.