Columbia, MO, 3/25/2022 – The Blue Jays baseball team had gotten off to a slow start this season. The Blue Jay bats would roar to life in a dominant 20-4 seven inning victory over the Principia College Panthers that saw the Jays pound out 19 hits, 11 of them for extra bases along with an astounding six triples. The victory saw the Blue Jays improve to 2-14 overall and 1-3 in the SLIAC.
The Blue Jays got going right from the start when Payton Whitehead (Belleville, Il. / Belleville West) would lead off the bottom of the first for the Jays with a sharp singe to left. He would be erased on a fielder's choice as Matt Lukins (Clark, MO / Rock Bridge) reached. Steven Diaz (Highland, IL / Highland) would then hit the first of the six Blue Jay triples to drive in Lukins all the way from first for an early 1-0 lead. The Panthers would tie the game in the top of the second.
The Blue Jays went back to work in the bottom of the second as Austin Mayton (Wentzville, Mo. / Fort Zumwalt North) was hit by a pitch leading off the inning and he would immediately steal second base, Zach Wolken (Jefferson City, MO / Helias) would follow with an RBI single to drive in Mayton to give the Jays the lead back 2-1. Wolken would steal second just getting under the tag. Whitehead would fly out to right field and Wolken would try to advance to third after tagging up. Principia's second baseman, the cutoff man, would air mail the throw to third base allowing Wolken to scamper home giving the Jays a 3-1 lead heading into the third inning.
The Blue Jays would then experience a rocky top of the third inning. Blue Jay starter Trent Morrow (Russelville, Mo. / Russellville) would get into trouble and control was to blame. He would get into trouble by walking two consecutive hitters to load the bases with nobody out. A two run error by the Jays right fielder would allow two Panther runs to score and later in the inning they would push across another run with one out to take a 4-3 lead. Morrow (1-3) would settle down and get through the inning without further damage. He would work four innings yielding four runs, with only one of those earned, on four hits. He struck out five and walked three in picking up the victory.
The Blue Jays would respond to the Panthers in a big way in the bottom of the third. Hayden Hirschvogel (Jefferson City, Mo. / Jefferson City) would triple to the wall with one out. Mayton would pop up to shallow right field where the ball would be dropped by the Panther second baseman allowing Hirschvogel to score to tie the game 4-4. Wolken would follow with a single that moved Mayton to third. Wolken would steal his second base of the night without a throw. Coltin Green (St. Anthony, Mo. / St. Elizabeth) would hit into a fielder's choice as the Panther pitcher made a nice play on his come backer to throw Mayton out at the plate as Wolken would advance to third with two outs. Green would then steal second base. Whitehead would then deliver the big blow of the inning tripling to the wall driving in both Wolken and Green to take a 6-4 lead.
The Jays would break the game open in the bottom of the fourth with a nine-run inning. The big blows in the inning included a Quin Adelson (Louisville, KY / North Oldham) RBI triple, Hirschvogel RBI double, Wolken RBI double and a two RBI double by Whitehead. When the dust settled, the Blue Jays would lead 15-4 heading into the fifth inning.
Matt Trout (Lee's Summit, Mo. / Blue Springs South) would come on in relief to try to secure the win for Morrow. He would work a masterful final three innings shutting out the Panthers on two hits while overpowering Panther hitters by striking out eight of his 11 batters faced while walking no one. The Blue Jays would tack on five more runs and run off with the 20-4 seven inning short game victory.
The Blue Jays were led at the pate by Wolken who went 4-5 with three RBI's. Whitehead would go 3-5 at the plate with four RBI's. Matt Lukins would also pound out three hits going 3-5 with three RBI's. Senior Derek Shikles (New Bloomfield, MO / New Bloomfield) would record a five RBI night thanks to a bases clearing triple and a couple sacrifices. Diaz, Adelson and Hirschvogel would each record two hit nights. The Blue Jays would also steal seven bases to help set up their big innings.
The Blue Jays will be back in action on Saturday against the Panthers at Saucier Field. The Blue Jays will take on the Panthers in a double header starting at 12:00 p.m. with the second game set for around a 3:00 p.m. start time.