Fulton, MO, 4/23/2022 – The Westminster College baseball team came into their weekend series with the Eureka College Red Devils needing a series sweep to pull even in the conference standings. The fact that it was Senior Day weekend only added to the importance of the series. Derek Shikles (New Bloomfield, MO / New Bloomfield) Hayden Hirschvogel (Jefferson City, MO / Jefferson City) and Jacob Waelterman (Barnhart, MO / Seckman) would all be celebrated for their achievements and dedication for the Westminster baseball program. The Blue Jays would pound out 36 hits including nine home runs on the weekend to sweep the Red Devils 7-3 in game one, 12-10 in game two and 9-8 in game three. The wins improved the Blue Jays record to 9-21 and 7-10 in SLIAC play.
The Blue Jays would fall behind 6-1 after three innings as the Red Devils would hit three of their four home runs in the game in the first three innings. The Blue Jays would wait until the bottom of the fifth inning to make their move. Coltin Green (St. Anthony, Mo. / St. Elizabeth) walked to lead off the inning. Matt Lukins (Clark, MO / Rock Bridge) singled with one out advancing Green to second base. Payton Whitehead (Belleville, Il. / Belleville West) lined a sharp single up the middle to load the bases. Austin Mayton (Wentzville, Mo. / Fort Zumwalt North) would then line a shot off the pitcher's shoe redirecting the ball out of the reach of the Red Devil second baseman scoring two to cut the Eureka lead to 6-3. Steven Diaz (Highland, Il. / Highland) would then step to the plate and blast a three-run game tying home run. Quin Adelson (Louisville, KY / North Oldham) walked with two outs and then Hirschvogel obliterated a ball over the left field wall to give the Blue Jays their first lead of the game at 8-6.
The Red Devils would regain the lead in the top of the sixth as they plated three runs to take a 9-8 lead. A pair of walks and a passed ball put runners on second and third with one out for the Blue Jays in the bottom of the sixth and Mayton would send a sacrifice fly to right field to score the tying run as Lukins would tag and score to make it 9-9. Shikles would start the home half of the seventh inning reaching on a hit by pitch. Adelson would single moving Shikles to third. Adelson would then steal second. Spencer Keiser (Old Monroe, MO / Winfield) would then double to left center field to score both runners to make it 11-9 Blue Jays. Eureka would add a run to make it 11-10 before Diaz would hit his second home run of the game to give the Blue Jays some breathing room at 12-10.
Senior righthander Jacob Waeltermann (Barnhart, MO / Seckman) started the game and grinded through five innings giving the Blue Jays a chance. He would give up six runs on eight hits while striking out three batters and walking two. Matt Trout (Lee's Summit, Mo. / Blue Springs South) threw one inning for the Jays giving up three runs on two hits.
The star on the mound was Kaleb Hinkle-Pruett (Alton, IL / Roxana) who worked the last three innings giving up one run on one hit to earn the win for the Jays. Hinkle-Pruett
(2-4) would strikeout one and walk one on the way to the victory.
The Blue Jays would fire out of the gate with the momentum they gained in the come from behind win in the first game of the double header. Whitehead would single to leadoff the game and then steal second base. He would then move to third base on a ground ball out. Diaz would step to the plate and crush his third home run of the day to take a 2-0 lead. With two outs in the inning Adelson would hit a solo home run to center field to make it 3-0. Eureka College would get a run back in the top of the second inning to make it 3-1.
Green would lead off the second inning with a single. Keiser would walk giving the Blue Jays runners on first and second as Lukins would execute a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third with one out. Back-to-back wild pitches scored Green and Keiser to give the Jays a 5-1 lead. Eureka would score six unanswered runs to take a 7-5 lead. Two errors by the Red Devils in the bottom of the sixth inning plated a run to cut the Eureka lead to 7-6.
The Blue Jays would retake the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Diaz would tie the game at 7-7 with his fourth home run of the game and fifth of the series. Back to back singles by Shikles and Adelson put runners on first and third with one out. Hirschvogel would bring in Shikles with a sacrifice fly to right field to give the Jays the lead 8-7. A Whitehead RBI single to right field increased the Blue Jays lead to 9-7.
In the top of the ninth inning Blue Jay freshman reliever Jackson Kespohl (Columbia, MO / Hickman) would come into the game with the bases loaded and one out. He would get the first batter he faced to fly out to center field as the Eureka runner would tag and score to cut the lead to 9-8 but gave the Jays the important second out. Kespohl would then get the next batter to fly out to center field to end the game. Kespohl got his first save of his college career.
Trent Morrow (Russelville, Mo. / Russellville) started the game on the mound for the Blue Jays. He would work five innings giving up five runs, three earned, on eight hits. He struck out four and walked one in getting the no decision. Grant Higginbotham (Farmington, Mo. / Farmington) pitched one inning giving up two runs on two hits in relief of Morrow.
Sam Owen (1-0) (Katy, Tx. / Cinco Ranch) pitched two and a third innings giving up one run on three hits while striking out three and walking none in picking up his first collegiate victory.
The Blue Jays will wrap up the regular season with a three game road series next weekend at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois. They will play a doubleheader on Saturday April 30th with game one set for a 1:00 p.m. first pitch with game two to follow. The series will conclude with one game on May 1st with the first pitch set for 1:00 p.m.