The Westminster baseball team split with Spalding University on Sunday, suffering their first conference loss. The Westminster Blue Jays won the first game of the doubleheader, 11-1. The second game went into 15 innings, but Spalding pulled out the 5-4 win while breaking the NCAA Division III strikeouts record with 26. The Blue Jays are now 9-5 on the season and 4-1 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) play.
The Blue Jays jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a RBI sacrifice fly to right field by junior Tyler Branneky to score freshman Nick Bohlmann and a freshman Chris Asher RBI single to left field to score senior Tim Chambliss.
In the sixth inning, Chambliss scored on a wild pitch to take a 5-0 lead, but in the bottom of the inning, Spalding finally put themselves on the board with a RBI single.
In the final inning of the game, the Blue Jays put up six runs. Hughes started the rally with a RBI single to left field to score Backes. Ty. Branneky and junior A.C. Long each hit two RBI singles to score a total of four runs, and Backes rounded out the rally with a RBI single to shortstop to score freshman Adam Mundle. The Blue Jays held an 11-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh where they ended the game with two strikeouts and a ground out to shortstop.
Hughes (4-0) was credited with the complete game win. He pitched the seven innings, struck out 10 batters and only allowed one run.
Hughes, Asher and Backes led the Blue Jay offense with two hits a piece. Ty. Branneky finished with a total of three RBI.
Spalding got on the board first in game two with a homerun and a RBI double in the second inning.
It was not until the fifth inning that the Blue Jays were able to get on the board. Backes hit a RBI double down the left field line to score sophomore Connor Hager, and Backes then tied up the game at 2-2 after scoring on a passed ball.
In the sixth inning, Mundle scored an unearned run off Hager's RBI single up the middle to take the 3-2 lead. In the top of the eighth, the Blue Jays added another run off Mundle's RBI single to left field, scoring freshman Blake Strebler, but in the bottom of the ninth, Spalding picked up two runs to send the game into extra innings.
The Blue Jays found themselves in scoring position twice in the next six innings, but were unable to bring the runners in. In the bottom of the 15th, Spalding hit a two out RBI single to score their runner on third and end the game with the score of 5-4.
Junior Will Miller pitched the first nine innings and struck out eight batters. Senior Jake Rule came in as relief and pitched the next 2.1 innings. Sophomore Jake Lund (0-2) pitched the remaining 3.1 innings and suffered the loss on the mound. He faced 14 batters and allowed three hits and the game-winning run.
Mundle, Hager and Backes each had two hits from the plate.
The Blue Jays take the week off before heading back into division play with a three game series with Webster University on Friday-Saturday, April 3-4. They will play a single nine inning game at Webster on Friday and complete the series with a home doubleheader on Saturday starting at 2:00 p.m.