Baseball Wins First-Ever Great West Conference Game
EDINBURG, Texas – It might not have been pretty, but Northern Colorado won its first-ever Great West Conference game 11-6 at Texas-Pan American on Friday night. The Bears have now won five straight games to bring their season record to 9-15, while the Broncs have dropped three straight and are now 10-13.
The other teams winning on the first day of the Great West Conference season are Houston Baptist (7-6 over NJIT), NYIT (4-2 over Chicago State) and Utah Valley (12-2 over North Dakota).
Junior right-handed pitcher Joe Sawicki (2-3) won his second-straight contest, allowing just four runs on seven hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work. Sawicki has now thrown six or more innings in five of his seven starts this season.
Junior Brendan Hall threw the final 2.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on just two hits. He struck out one and walked three in the longest outing of his career.
Junior T.J. Berge led the Bears offensively, tallying a four hit day. He also had two RBI and scored once. Sophomore Jarod Berggren led the club with three RBI in the team’s second night game of the season.
The Bears scored their 11 runs on 12 hits with no UTPA errors, while the Broncs scored six runs on nine hits with one Bear error.
The majority of the scoring happened in the second inning as the Bears put the first six runs on the board. Senior Seth Budde and Berge had back-to-back singles to start the inning. With one out, senior Mike Raudenbush singled to load the bases and sophomore Casey Coy drew a walk for the first run.
One of the scariest things in baseball happened next as sophomore Tony Crudo was hit in the head with a pitch, but luckily he was okay and remained in the game. Senior Tyler Borzileri walked and then Berggren hit a bases-clearing double down the right field line to give the team a lead it never surrendered.
The Broncs tallied one run in the third, both teams scored twice in the fourth, UTPA plated one in the fifth and the Bears scored three in the sixth for the 11-4 advantage.
In the seventh, the Bears recorded one of the strangest double plays in the game. Berggren caught a pop-up in shallow left field but the runner on third base left early and was called out on appeal.
The Broncs scored two more in the eighth, but were not able to sustain the rally and lost the game 11-6.
Borzileri had a double down the left field line in the sixth inning to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 10 games, while Berggren is one game behind him with a nine-game streak. The 10-game streak is the longest since Erik Hegstad hit in 15 straight from Feb. 22 through Mar. 18 a season ago.
The two teams meet in a doubleheader tomorrow. The first game is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. (Central) and will be nine innings. The second game will start approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game and will be seven innings. Senior James Quisenberry and sophomore Joe Willman are the projected starters for the Bears on the mound.