Baseball takes two out of three games against rival Millsaps including 11-inning comeback win

The Tiger baseball team won two out of the three game series against Millsaps College last weekend in Jackson, Miss., improving their record to 5-1. The Tigers started the weekend with a double-header on Saturday, winning the first game 11-2 and losing the second game 5-3. On Sunday, the Tigers took the game into extra innings and finally closed out the game in the 11th inning by scoring three runs.

Senior catcher Chris Bianchi earned SCAC Baseball Player of the Week for his performance over the weekend.

“It was a great weekend in the sense that Millsaps is a really good team and has a really good program,” said assistant coach Zach Fregosi. “We pitched well for 1.5 games and then didn’t pitch well for the rest of the second game, but then had a great comeback win on Sunday, so it was a really satisfying series win, especially on the road. It was a really good weekend overall. We hit great, and our guys fought all the way through; it was a great team experience and we just never quit.”

In the first game of the double-header on Saturday, sophomore third baseman Carter McEachern started things off for the Tigers with a run in the first inning. The Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the third inning with two more runs from senior outfielder Pat Hirschberg and sophomore first baseman Nick Jewett.

Millsaps finally got on the board in third inning with a single. Neither team scored until the eighth inning when the Tiger scored five runs on four hits; Jewett and junior outfielder Nick Griffith scored, and McEachern closed off the inning with a three-run homer.

Millsaps scored a run at the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Tigers scored three more runs in the ninth inning to seal the game. Trinity finished the game with 17 hits and 10 runs batted in. Junior pitcher Zack Speer is now 2-0 for the season, only allowing one run on seven hits in seven innings. Speer struck out seven batters and only allowed one walk.

Millsaps took the lead in the first inning of the second game with a single run. Neither team scored until the fifth inning, when Trinity finally got on the board with two runs from Bianchi and sophomore outfielder Austin Singer.

The Majors scored a run at the bottom of the fifth inning and another in the seventh inning. Senior shortstop Christian Muscarello hit a home run in the eighth inning to tie the game at 3-3, but the Tigers could not hold off the Majors, who scored two more runs in the eighth inning to seal the game at 5-3. Bianchi was 3-3 in the game and Muscarello had two hits. Senior pitcher Carter Lauck, now 0-1, was charged with the loss for the game, coming on as the relief pitcher during the seventh inning.

Sophomore pitcher Mike Walker started the game and pitched six innings, allowing three runs on four hits and struck out four hitters.

“I think overall we did a lot of things really well. I think the only game we lost we just came out a little flat in, mostly because we came out with a big blowout win from the first game,” Bianchi said.

On Sunday, the Tigers took control of the game early, scoring two runs in the first inning, but the Majors responded with a run at the bottom of the inning. They scored another four runs in the fourth inning, but Trinity fought back and scored three in the fifth and only allowed one run at the bottom of the inning.

The Tigers trailed 10-7 at the bottom of the eighth inning, but scored three runs in the ninth inning to tie the game, forcing extra innings.

The Tigers closed out the game, adding three more runs in the eleventh inning to finish the game 13-10. Bianchi hit 5-6 in the game with two runs batted in and three runs. McEachern hit 4-7 with two runs batted in and three runs. Hirschberg hit 3-5.

First-year pitcher Kevin Flores earned his first collegiate win for the Tigers, pitching the final 1.2 innings, retiring all four batters he faced, including crucial strikeouts in the 11th inning. Senior pitcher Kyle Bogese started the game for the Tigers, allowing six runs over five-plus innings and striking out five batters.

“Being able to take two of three games against a team as highly ranked as Millsaps is a big step in the right direction. As a team we were able to string hits together when we needed them most, and the fact that we were able to overcome multiple run deficits in the last game was great for the team’s confidence as we head into conference play,” McEachern said.

Trinity will play Southwestern this weekend at 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. tomorrow in Georgetown.

“Against Southwestern, we’re looking to clean up the pitching side and get that back on track. It’ll be a different weekend series, but they’re conference games, so they’re all important. We should win, but we still have to take care of business,” Fregosi said.