May 12, 2012

Saturday sees another split in baseball

EDINBURG, Texas – It's déjà vu all over again.

The Northern Colorado baseball team split another Saturday doubleheader in Great West Conference action, losing 4-3 in game one before coming back to shut out the Broncs in game two, 3-0.

Senior left-hander Joe Willman pitched 6.2 innings in the win, just the second home loss for UTPA this season, to improve to 5-6 on the year. Willman walked six, struck out three and allowed five hits. Sophomore Josh Tinnon picked up his first save of the year, pitching the final 2.1 innings. He gave up three hits and didn't walk or strike out a batter.

It's the second time in three games the Bears have shut out the Broncs in Edinburg, as they won 10-0 in the Great West Tournament on May 27, 2010. The Bears now own a 22-6 advantage in the all-time series which started in 2006.

The Bears let game one get away as they had a 3-1 lead entering the bottom of the seventh, but two walks, a hit batter and a costly error helped the Broncs come from behind for the 4-3 victory.

Sophomore right-hander Chris Hammer pitched five innings in game one, allowing just one run on eight hits. He walked two and struck out one in a no decision. Senior Cameron Tallman (0-1) was hung with the loss after giving up three runs on one hit, two walks and two strikeouts.

Senior Adam Hilker and freshman Jensen Park were responsible for four of the team's six hits with two each, while Hilker had two of the team's three RBI. It was Hilker's 19th multi-hit game of the season and stretched his hitting streak to 13 games.

Hilker took care of the streak early, singling in the first inning of the second game to knot his career-longest hitting streak at 14 games. The hit gave him two more RBI on the day and he finished the game 3-for-4. Senior Adrian Schenk also went 2-for-3 and senior Casey Coy chipped in two hits in the nightcap.

Freshman Ryan Yamane walked a total of five times in the doubleheader, twice in the first game and three times in game two and all five lead off an inning.

The two teams meet on the diamond again tomorrow for a doubleheader beginning at noon (Central)/11 am (Mountain).

Game One Recap
Yamane drew a walk to start the game and was successfully bunted over to second by Coy. With two outs, Hilker doubled to right center to score the first run of the game.

UTPA tied the score in the bottom of the third, thanks in part to a stolen base and a balk. With the bases loaded and one out, Hammer got Mike McCarthy to hit into a line drive right at Coy and Ryan Goulding to fly out to Park in left to keep the score knotted at 1-1.

In the top of the sixth, Coy tripled to right for his seventh triple of the year. Sophomore Colby Harrison was hit on the right leg to put runners on the corners. Hilker singled to score Coy but Harrison was thrown out trying to get to third. Park kept up with Coy, hitting his seventh triple of the year down the right field line to plate Hilker and give the Bears the 3-1 advantage.

Tallman struck out two in retiring the side in order in the sixth. In the bottom of the seventh, the Broncs got a single, a walk and a throwing error by freshman Taylor Anderson scored one. An intentional walk was issued to load the bases with no outs and the Bears brought in freshman Jess Amedee. Amedee hit the first batter he saw to knot the game at 3-3 and a deep fly ball to right center off Goulding's bat gave the Broncs the 4-3 win.

Sophomore Harrison Lambert had three plate appearances in the game but no official at bats as he was hit once, walked once and laid down a sacrifice bunt.

Jonathan Sa was credited with a complete game win, giving up three runs on six runs. He walked three and struck out five in facing 29 batters.

Game Two Recap
Yamane again started the game with a leadoff walk. Coy singled to right and Anderson reached on a throwing error by the pitcher on a sacrifice bunt attempt. The error plated Yamane, again giving the Bears the early lead. A single up the middle by Hilker scored two. Schenk followed with a single through the right side but the pair was stranded with the Bears leading 3-0.

Willman got out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the first, getting Iradier Hernandez to fly out to senior Kevin Hurd in right. He then retired the side in order in the second.

For the fourth time on the day, Yamane walked to begin a frame. He moved up 90 feet on a single past the diving short stop off the bat of Coy in the fifth. Anderson hit into a double play and Hilker singled on a bunt to the third base side. Schenk walked to load the bases but the trio was stranded.

From one out in the third inning until one out in the bottom of the sixth, Willman held the Broncs hitless and faced the minimum three batters in both the fourth and fifth frames, including his first strikeout to end the fifth.

Willman struck out two in the seventh, but a hit and two walks had the bases loaded. Tinnon came on in relief and got Vinnie Mejia to fly out to Park in left to end the threat.

Hilker lined his third hit of the second game through the right side to start the eighth inning for the Bears. Schenk followed with a single to left field and Park moved both runners up with a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher. Lambert was intentionally walked to load the bases, but the Broncs bullpen shut down the Bears offense.

Tinnon worked out of a jam in the bottom of the eighth after allowing two hits and gave up just one hit in the ninth, but got his first save of the year as he and Willman combined for the team's third shutout of the year.