After winning 21 of 22 games to improve their record to 22-7, the St. Catharine College Patriots ran into some tough Bulldogs last weekend at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn. T he result was a three game sweep for the home team.
The three losses dropped Luther Bramblett’s team to 5-4 and fourth place in the Mid-South Conference while Cumberland vaulted to first place at 10-2 and 23-11 overall. The Bat Pats are back in conference play this weekend with a three game series at home against Rio Grande. Friday’s single game starts at 1 p.m. and Saturday’s doubleheader begins at noon.
With a doubleheader sweep Thursday of the visiting Kalamazoo College Hornets, the Bat Pats maintained their momentum. They took Thursday’s opener 9-2 and completed the sweep with an 8-1 win in game two. Kalamazoo, hampered by the cold weather in Michigan, played its first game of the season at Transylvania on Wednesday, a 19-10 loss, before taking on the Bat Pats on Thursday.
The Hornets took a 1-0 lead in game one in the second inning but St. Catharine answered with five runs in the bottom of the second and coasted to the victory from there. The Patriots took advantage of three walks and a Hornets’ error in the five run rally.
St. Catharine had just six hits in the game but Kalamazoo pitching issued 10 walks and six of those batters who walked came around to score. C.J. Englestad had two of the St. Catharine hits. K.C. Mejia and Tyler Mischel each had two RBI in the victory.
Ryan Rizzi (2-2) worked the first five innings in picking up the win. He allowed four hits and two runs, while walking four and fanning seven. C.J. Gant pitched two scoreless innings in relief with one walk and one strikeout.
In game two the Bat Pats scored all eight runs in the first three innings en route to the 8-1 win. The Hornets helped the SCC offense by making five errors in those first three frames.
St. Catharine had nine hits with Carlos Hernandez and Joey Xavier collecting two each. Both Hernandez and Xavier doubled as did Mejia.
Trenton Claunch (1-0) went the distance on the mound, allowing five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
The baseball adage that good pitching and defense will give you a chance to win each game held true last weekend when the St. Catharine College Patriots traveled to Lebanon, Tenn. to take on the Bulldogs of Cumberland University. But unfortunately for Luther Bramblett’s Bat Pats, those chances never came to fruition as they were swept in the three game Mid-South Conference series.
“We had our chances,” said Bramblett whose team fell to 22-10 overall and 5-4 in the Mid-South Conference. “We pitched good enough, our defense was good enough and so was our starting pitching. We just didn’t execute with men on base.”
St. Catharine fell 3-0 in game one as they allowed the Bulldogs single runs in the first, sixth and seventh innings. Eddie Rivera (6-1) took his first loss of the season as he surrendered three runs (two earned) on seven hits in six-and-a-third innings. Cody Alvey pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief.
Six different players each had one hit each for St. Catharine who stranded nine runners on base, five of them in scoring position.
The Bat Pats absorbed a tough loss in Friday’s second game as the Bulldogs (23-11, 10-2) scored four times in the sixth inning to win 4-3 in the seven inning contest.
St. Catharine had just three hits in the game, all of them coming in the third inning when they scored all three runs. Trevor Schneider and Carlos Hernandez singled to begin the inning. Schneider scored on a squeeze play by C.J. Englestad and K.C. Mejia’s two-run homer made the score 3-0.
That is where the score remained through five innings as Patriot starter Dylan Shoffner held the Bulldogs’ offense in check as he allowed just one hit in five innings with four strikeouts. But Cumberland reached the St. Catharine bullpen for four runs in the sixth frame. Matt Wagner allowed three of those runs in one-third of an inning and Cory Klinger (3-1) took the loss in giving up the fourth run.
The Bat Pats knocked out eight hits in the series finale on Saturday but could mange just one run in losing 5-1. Hernandez and Mejia each had two hits and Mejia had the only RBI when his single scored Hernandez in the third inning to tie the score at 1-1.
Cumberland took the lead for good in the fourth inning off losing pitcher Bruce Tolliver ((3-3). They added a run in the sixth inning and two more in the eighth off reliever Andrew Nelson. Tolliver walked seven and struck out four while giving up five hits in five innings. Nelson.
“They have a good team,” said Bramblett of the Bulldogs. “They made the plays and big pitches and we didn’t.”