The sixth-ranked Trinity baseball team opened their season with three wins last weekend against Chapman and UT-Tyler. The Tigers defeated Chapman 7-4 on Saturday and 5-1 on Sunday and outscored UT-Tyler 5-3. The Tigersâ€™ game against UT-Tyler was originally scheduled for Friday, but due to inclement weather, it was pushed back to Sunday following the Chapman game. The wins were welcomed by the packed bleachers of fans, which included many alumni players.
â€œWe had three pretty good wins last weekend against good teams. We fought all weekend, even if we were behind. Our pitching staff was excellent; we only used six pitchers in three games. We played really well, but we did leave batters on base at crucial times, so thatâ€™s definitely something weâ€™re going to try to improve upon,â€ said sophomore first baseman Nick Jewett.
Despite starting down 2-0, the Tigers ultimately rallied to defeat Chapman, starting with a solo home run from senior center fielder Pat Hirschberg at the bottom of the second. In the fifth inning, Jewett and junior outfielder Nick Griffith each drove in a run to give Trinity the lead. Senior short stop Christian Muscarello flied out to center field in the sixth inning, bringing in a run from sophomore second baseman Connor Moore. Sophomore outfielder Jeremy Wolf hit a triple to left field, bringing in a run from sophomore third baseman Carter McEachern. Chapman continued to fight, scoring two runs in the seventh inning, but Trinity edged them out with a two-run homer from Wolf at the bottom of the eighth inning. Senior pitcher Kyle Bogese took the game with nine strikeouts in 6.1 innings, only allowing two unearned runs, four runs total and walking five batters.
â€œIt was a great start. They were three really big games for us, not just because they were the first three but because they were really good programs and really good teams. We did a lot of things right and just happened to be lucky enough to win,â€ said assistant coach Zach Fregosi.
The Tigers carried their momentum from Saturdayâ€™s win to Sundayâ€™s repeat game against Chapman.
The Tigers took the lead early, with Jewett scoring at the bottom of the second inning on a run batted in by sophomore right fielder Austin Singer. The Tigers added three more runs with McEachern scoring in the third inning and Moore and senior catcher Chris Bianchi scoring in the fifth inning. Chapman finally scored a run in the seventh inning, but the Tigers closed out the game with another McEachern run in the eighth inning. Junior pitcher Zack Speer only allowed one run over 6.1 innings and struck out three batters. Sophomore pitcher Teddy Turner struck out three batters in the final 2.2 innings of the game, earning his first save of the season.
â€œOur first three games were definitely a solid start to our season. We played well in almost every aspect of the game and that is what allowed us to win all three games. Moving on however, we still have a lot of things we can improve on and we will continue to work on those things in order to be successful throughout the whole season,â€ Muscarello said.
The Tigers closed out their home opener weekend against the UT-Tyler Patriots, despite falling 2-0 at the beginning of the game. Hirschberg put the Tigers on the board with a solo home-run in the second inning. The Patriots furthered their lead in the third inning with another run, but the Tigers came back in the fourth inning with a run from Wolf. The Tigers took the lead in the fifth inning, with a home-run from Bianchi and a run from Moore. In the ninth inning, the Patriots loaded the bases with no outs, but Turner came and made a game-ending double play, earning his second save of the day. Sophomore pitcher Mike Walker took the win, striking out three batters and only allowing three runs on six hits over more than five innings.
â€œI think we will have to improve on last weekendâ€™s performance if we want to come out with three more wins. Millsaps is a solid team so we will need to be even more consistent on both sides of the ball if we want to have continued success,â€ Muscarello said.
Trinity travels to Jackson, Miss. to play Millsaps College for a three-game weekend series. They will play a double header on Saturday and the final game on Sunday. Millsaps played in the NCAA Division III College World Series last year.
â€œMillsaps is a really great team. They used to play in our conference so we know them really well and we have a good rivalry with them, so it should be a great weekend. We hope to win all three games, but itâ€™s really hard to go on the road there and sweep them. Weâ€™ve only swept them once; itâ€™ll be a good really hard weekend,â€ Fregosi said.