Baseball ‘Cats start season 0-3 after weekend series with Thomas More

CRESTVIEW HILLS (KY.) — In its opening weekend of play, the Wesleyan baseball team traveled to Thomas More University in Kentucky for a triple bill over two days and left with a nail-biting 0-3 start to the season.

Game 1, Saturday, Feb. 24, WVWC at Thomas More (9 innings)

Saturday’s game remained close through the fourth when Bobcat shortstop Jack Tilton singled to center field to bring home second baseman Grant Shumaker and close to within one run 4-3, but Thomas More opened it up in the next three frames. At the start of the sixth, Alex Hernandez replaced starting pitcher Broderick Rohrbaugh with the Bobcats down 7-3 but by the end of the inning, the Saints’ third baseman Jeremy Ward doubled up the middle for one RBI and DH Derek Marinucci singled to center field to bring in 2 RBIs, and Thomas More was up by seven, 10-3.

The Bobcats would make a comeback attempt in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on hits by catcher Thatcher Poteat who tripled to right field to bring home third baseman Cole Shearer, center fielder Ryan Drag doubled to right center to plate Poteat and first baseman Matthew Neach singled to left field to bring in Drag to pull the Bobcats to within four. But the run well went dry in the final innings and the Bobcats dropped its first game of 2024, 13-6

Wesleyan scored six runs on 10 hits and had one error. The Saints had 13 runs on 17 hits and three errors.

Rohrbaugh took the opening day loss, pitching five innings to give up nine hits and seven runs (six earned), five walks and had one strikeout.

Thomas More’s Austin Dennis picked up the win with six innings of work, giving up three runs on six hits and had three strikeouts.

Game 2, Sunday, Feb. 25, WVWC at Thomas More (DH, game 1, 7 innings)

In the first game of the doubleheader Sunday, a pitcher’s duel took the headline through six innings before, in the bottom of the inning, the Saints’ DH Derek Atwood homered off of Hunter Eplin to score shortstop Gavin Pearson after he singled in the inning’s first at-bat.

But the Bobcats quickly struck back in the first at-bat of the seventh when right fielder Ryan Drag singled, then center fielder Luke Burner followed with a triple to score Drag. In the next at-bat, pinch hitter Matt Turner reached on a fielder’s choice while Burner tried to score from third but was out on a 4-5-2 Saints’ play at the plate.

Wesleyan scored one run on four hits and had no errors. The Saints had two runs on four hits and no errors.

Hunter took the complete game loss, pitching six innings to give up three walks and had three strikeouts.

Thomas More’s Jackson Grimmelsm picked up the win with six and a third innings of work, to give up two walks and had three strikeouts. Kellen Sandhas recorded the save.

Game 3, Sunday, Feb. 25, WVWC at Thomas More (DH, game 2, 9 innings)

The Bobcats and Saints followed up the first game heroics with another one-run duel in the second 9-inning game.

The Saints notched four runs in the first four innings off of starter Eli Brogan, before the Bobcats started to close the gap.

In the top of the fifth, after left fielder Ryan Drag singled with one out, DH Matthew Neach doubled and Drag advanced to third. On the next play, right fielder Josh Alaya grounded out to third to score Drag.

A Bobcat pitching change in the bottom of the fifth put Anthony Hernandez on the mound and he held the Saints scoreless through the frame to keep the score 4-1

The bats came alive on both sides in the sixth as Wesleyan recorded three runs to the Saints pair for a 6-4 Thomas More lead, then the Bobcats inched one run closer in the seventh when center fielder Luke Burner homered with one out and no one on.

The drama took one step forward when Wesleyan tied the game in the top of the ninth at 6-6 on a Jack Tilton (SS) single that scored pinch runner Preston Todd from second.

But the Saints walked it off in the bottom of the frame on A.J. Enginger’s single that scored Gunner Kalkhoff from third.

Wesleyan scored six runs on 10 hits and had no errors. The Saints had seven runs on 11 hits and had one error.

Wesleyan’s Austin Mann who entered the game in the top of the ninth took the loss.

Thomas More’s Kellen Sandhas picked up the win on two and two-thirds innings of work.

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