Fulton, Mo 3/5/2022- The Westminster College baseball team kicked off a four-game weekend series against the Loras College Duhawks with a doubleheader on Saturday. For the first time this season, the Blue Jays got to compete on Saucier Field in front of a home crowd. The games got moved up because of the weather being in the forecast, but it was a beautiful day for baseball on the campus of Westminster College. Unfortunately for the Blue Jay faithful in attendance, they could not see their team win at home. The Blue Jays dropped game one, 9-2 to the Duhawks in a seven-inning game, and in-game number two, the Duhawks would come out on top 6-5 after a dramatic back-and-forth game. The losses bring the Blue Jays to 1-9 on the season.
Game One: BoxScore
In the first game of the doubleheader, Trent Morrow (Russellville, Mo. / Russellville) would get the start on the bump and pitched a one, two, three inning to start the game. In the bottom of the first inning, Payton Whitehead (Belleville, Il. / Belleville West) got the fans on their feet with a deep home run to right-center field. Giving the Blue Jays an early 1-0 lead. The Jays held the Duhawks in check until the third inning when they would plate three runs and go up 3-1.
The Blue Jays would get something going in the bottom of the third, with Whitehead reaching first base on an error. He would then steal second. Senior Derek Shikles (New Bloomfield, Mo./ New Bloomfield) came to the plate and would hit a single. Whitehead would score on the play, bringing Westminster to within one, 3-2.
Heading into the fifth inning, the Blue Jays were down 4-2 after the Duhawks scored a run in the fourth. Steven Diaz (Highland, IL. / Highland) would hit a rope to the outfield for a double. Shikles drew a walk in the next at-bat, putting runners on second and first. Hayden Hirschvogel (Jefferson City, Mo. / Jefferson City) came to the plate, he flew out to center and advanced Diaz to third. Freshman Zach Wolken (Jefferson City, Mo./ Helias) came up with runners on first and third. He would hit a screamer to the right side of the infield. Sadly, it was right to the first baseman and ended the Blue Jay rally.
Loras would score five runs in the sixth and defeat the Blue Jays 9-2. Morrow pitched five and third, giving up eight hits and 6 runs, two of them being unearned, and three strikeouts. Corbin Harrison (Eldon, MO / Eldon) pitched one-third of an inning, he gave up one earned run, a hit, and strikeout. Jackson Kespohl (Columbia, MO / Hickman) pitched an inning and a third, giving up three hits and recording one strikeout.
Whitehead went 1-4 with two runs scored and Shikles led the team in hitting going 2 for 3 with an RBI.
Game Two: BoxScore
Game two of the doubleheader saw the Blue Jays get off to a hot start, jumping out 2-0 on the Duhawks in the first inning. Whitehead got things going with a lead-off double. With two outs in the bottom of the first, Shikles hit a two-run home run. The Blue Jays would strike again with the long ball in the fourth, when the SLIAC Player of the Week, Austin Mayton (Wentzville, Mo. / Fort Zumwalt North) put a charge into one and put the Blue Jays up 3-0.
The Duhawks would not go down without a fight and they would tie the game 3-3 in the fifth inning. They would add two more runs in the sixth. Heading into the home half of the sixth inning, the Blue Jays were down 5-3. Diaz hit a single to start the bottom of the sixth. Shikles would get hit by a pitch to put runners on second and first. Diaz and Shikles would both advance on a passed ball. This brought Hirschvogel to the dish with two on and no outs. He would hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring in Diaz and advance Shikles up to third. Bringing the Blue Jays to within one run, 5-4. Wolken would tie with a sacrifice fly to center as well and score Shikles. The game would remain tied at five runs apiece up to the eighth inning.
The Duhawks got a single to start the top of the eighth. The runner would advance to second on a fielder's choice. Then Loras would get a runner on base after a Blue Jay throwing error. The next batter hit a ground ball between the shortstop and third base, scoring the run. Jacob Waeltermann (Barnhart, Mo. / Seckman) would get out of trouble and get a double play to end the inning. However, the damage had already been done. The Blue Jays could get nothing going in the eighth or ninth inning and would lose to the Duhawks 6-5.
Bode Gebbink (St, Joseph, Il. / St. Joseph-Ogden) got the start in game two and he went four and two-thirds innings. Giving up six hits, three runs, and notched four strikeouts. Waeltermann came on in relief and went four inning and a third. He gave up three hits, three runs, and struck out three.
Diaz and Whitehead led the Blue Jays offensively, who both went two for four and a run scored each. Shikles and Mayton went long with a home run each. Shikles would also steal a base.
The Blue Jays will play another doubleheader against the Duhawks on Sunday, with the first pitch set for 11:00 a.m. There is rain in the forecast for the Fulton area, so please check in on the Westminster Athletics social media pages for updates on the games.