FULTON, Mo. –The Westminster baseball team put on show for the Fulton faithful in their home opener, overcoming a six-run deficit to defeat Simpson College 15-7 in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader and winning the second game 6-2. The Blue Jays are now 5-5 on the season.
The Blue Jays fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first and the visitors added three more runs in the second to take a 6-0 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, Bryce McKinnon drove in Hayden Hirschvogel and Parker Schnieders with a two-run single to get the Blue Jays on the board and cut the lead to 6-2.
After a quiet third inning, Hirschvogel sparked Westminster rally with a triple to open the bottom of the fourth. He was then driven in by Schnieders and Branden Beeler singled up the middle to close the gap to 6-5. The next batter Ryan Clavin was hit by a pitch to load the bases and force a Simpson pitching change. Clavin was the third Blue Jay in the inning to be hit by a pitch. Will Stonecipher tied the game with a single through the left side and put the Blue Jays ahead for the first time with a double to scored three runs. He then came around to score on a Trevor Rhoads single to left field to give the Blue Jays their eighth run of the inning.
Simpson got a run back in the fifth on a solo home run but was shut out from that point on. Westminster increased their lead to eight runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to RBI singles from Rhoads and Michael Skinner and a three-run homer by Beeler.
Beeler went 3-5 and drove in five runs for the Blue Jays. McKinnon, Hirschvogel, Rhoads, Schneiders, and Skinner each had two hits in the game.
Skyler Dickneite went 4.1 innings to get the win for the Blue Jays and struck out five batters. Andrew Boessen held the Storm scoreless over the final two frames to record his third save of the season.
No comeback was needed in the second game as this time it was the Blue Jays who went ahead 6-0 early on. Skinner drove in the first run of the game with a single to center that scored Rhoad, who reached after being hit by a pitch. A wild pitch by Simpson scored a second Westminster run and then Rhoads scored on a sacrifice fly by Beeler. The Blue doubled their score the next inning off an RBI double by Schnieders, a fielder's choice and a Simpson error.
The Storm threatened with a pair of solo homers in the fifth but Westminster starter Mason Kirkweg was able to escape the inning with just the two runs allows. Kirkweg threw a scoreless sixth inning and finished the day with eight strikeouts to pick up his second win of the season. Boessen came in the top of the seventh to close out the game and give the Blue Jays a 6-2 win.
The Blue Jays will play another doubleheader tomorrow afternoon to close out the series with Simpson.