The men’s baseball team spent their opening weekend battling Western Oregon University’s Timberwolves. The Sea Lions won the series taking three of four games.
The Sea Lions entered the eighth inning with a two-run deficit until sophomore outfielder Preston Sands approached the plate. There were two outs with runners on second and third and the game on the line. Sands did not let that discourage him and he responded to the pressure by hitting a two-run double. For the next couple of innings, the game remained tied at three, but as the fog rolled in and the day progressed, the game had to be called due to darkness.
The series continued on Friday, Feb. 6. Game one ended after junior transfer Devin Carter hit his first home run of the season and of the day. Carter’s walk-off home run left fans stunned and pumped up his teammates. Junior third baseman Tanner Handa said it was just what the team needed.
“Devin’s walk off was a great confidence booster to start the season and I know there’s a lot in store for conference,” said Handa.
The Sea Lions played the second game of the series just 30 minutes after the first game ended. This game was less of a nail biter than the first, but the men proved their grit and talent as they defeated the Timberwolves 9-4. As if Carter’s first walk-off home run was not enough, he hit two more home runs in the second game and ultimately went four for five, adding a triple and sending four runners in to end the day. Carter was more focused on the fact that the team as a whole won instead of his own successes and was excited that he could help.
“I was just glad we could start off the season with a win; it felt great to get a few wins under our belt and start the season off with a winning record,” said Carter.
The double header on Saturday was a bit different from the day prior. The Timberwolves responded to the loss by coming out ready to win in the third game, scoring 17 runs and shutting the Sea Lions out. There were plenty of errors from the Sea Lions early on and it was hard for them to earn runs after giving up many early in the game. Following the loss, Handa said they would come back in game four to win the series.
“We’ll just keep working hard and taking everything game by game making sure we improve and get better every day and every game,” said Handa.
Game four was kept to seven short innings, and thanks to some good pitching and late hits by the Sea Lions, the men won 2-0. Michelle Jervis, sophomore Matt Jervis’ mother, said she was proud of the men’s determination to win the game.
“I thought this first series showed a lot from the boys; I thought the pitching looked strong. And once they start stringing some hits together consistently, they will be very good!” said Mrs. Jervis.
Coach Justin James, the head pitching coach, was also excited and proud of the pitching staff and their efforts this series.
“The pitching staff has been very dedicated to conditioning, mental work and competing 1 pitch at a time,” he went on to add, “Plain and simple this year’s staff so far has worked harder and smarter. They are a great group of guys on the field and in the classroom,” said James
The Sea Lions’ next home game is this Thursday, Feb. 12 against Cal State San Bernardino here at PLNU.