ST. CATHARINE, Ky. - With the cold and snow of Indiana keeping the Foresters from stepping foot onto Forest Glen Park, the HU baseball team (0-3) headed south to Kentucky over the weekend to open their season. The Foresters dropped a pair of games to host St. Catharine College (8-6), 7-3, 8-6, before losing to the University of Northwestern of Ohio (3-5), 4-3.
Against the Patriots on Friday, Huntington came out swinging to take an early 2-0 lead after their first at bats. Blake Ayers logged an RBI-single and eventually tagged up on a Bryce Anderson sacrifice fly to give his team a two-run advantage.
St. Catharine was quick to answer. The Patriots hammered out five hits to score three runs for a 3-2 lead after the first frame. They would go on to score three more runs in the bottom of the sixth and another in the seventh. HU’s only other score came in top of the seventh when Marc Bowers, who had singled earlier in the inning, came around to score on an RBI-pop up by Tanner Wyse.
Ayers and Josh Lanphier paced HU offensively with two hits apiece.
Starting pitcher Brian Kirschbaum (0-1) was tagged with the loss. He gave up seven hits, three walks and three runs while striking out five in five innings of work.
On Saturday, it looked like the Foresters would avenge Friday’s loss to the Patriots as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead but St. Catharine stormed back to tally eight runs in the bottom of the third to claim an 8-6 lead that would stick.
HU manufactured two runs in the top of the first via an RBI-single down the right field line by Anderson and a Lanphier stolen base. Christner made it 3-0 when he knocked in a run with a single to second in the next inning.
Three more runs came in the third on run-scoring singles by Brock Gower and Drew Adams followed by an Austin Drummond sacrifice squeeze bunt that allowed Gower to scamper home to make it a 6-0 contest.
After managing only one hit through the first two innings, St. Catharine fired up their bats in the bottom of the third sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring eight times on eight hits to quickly turn the tables. Starting pitcher Derek McKinney took the brunt of the Patriots’ rampage, giving up seven earned runs on five hits before being relieved by Blake Hohlbein.
It was relatively uneventful after that as the Patriots held the Foresters hitless the rest of the way to hang on for the 8-6 win.
Anderson went 2-for-2 at the plate and drove in a run in the losing effort for Huntington. Christner also collected a pair of hits and knocked in another to go along with two stolen bases and a run scored.
McKinney (0-1) took the loss for Huntington as he gave up six hits, seven runs and four walks while striking out one in 2.1 innings of work.
Huntington wrapped up their weekend Saturday afternoon playing catch up to the University of Northwestern Ohio.
The Racers lived up to their nickname by racing out to a 2-0 lead after two innings of play. HU got on the board in the top of the third when Ayers hit an RBI-single to pull his team within one at 2-1. But Huntington’s momentum was cut short as UNOH took advantage of a Forester error and wild pitch to extend the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the frame when Vince Anello doubled in both runs.
The Foresters kept things interesting with two runs in the top of fifth. After three consecutive singles to load the bases, Lanphier tallied an RBI ground out to make it 4-2. Ayers followed up with his second RBI smack of the contest to trim the lead to one but that was how it ended as the Racers held on for the win.
Xyan Adkisson was charged with the loss for HU allowing four runs, three of which were earned, on five hits in 5.1 innings on the mound.
Ayers collected a pair of run-scoring hits. Drummond also recorded a pair of hits and scored two runs.