ASU baseball takes two of OPHSU

GOODWELL, Okla—A 5-2 extra innings win in game two helped Adams State University pick up a Saturday sweep over Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

A second consecutive game on Sunday saw Adams State University and Oklahoma Panhandle State University play into extra innings. Sunday's outing did not reflect Saturday's extra inning ASU victory as the Aggies pulled out a 5-4 win in 11 innings.

The Grizzlies (6-8) began Saturday  with a 3-1 win. The pair of wins lifted ASU's road record to 5-5 as the program has now gone 5-2 against the Aggies (3-13) dating back to 2015.

Game One (W, 3-1)
A two RBI double from Thomaslee Mares in the top of the fifth proved to be enough to send Adams State past Oklahoma Panhandle. The senior's run-producing hit gave ASU a 2-1 lead as Patrick Huffaker's fielder's choice RBI an inning later pushed the Grizzlies to a 3-1 lead. Casey Weber (1-1) nearly went the distance in 6.2 innings of work with six strikeouts, nine hits, and one run. Weber allowed just one walk and one extra-base hit during his outing.

A bases loaded RBI single by OPSU's Juan Rubayo placed the Aggies up, 1-0, in the fourth. Further damage was prevented as Derek Stallworth flied out as the next batter to close out the frame. Moving forward, the Grizzlies gave up only three more hits with a runner advancing no further than second base.

Adams State was held hitless until the third and threatened to score in the fourth but a bases-loaded opportunity was squandered with a groundout to second base.

Singles by Dustin Kachel and Michael Downs in the fifth set the table for Mares' two RBI double down the leftfield line. Huffaker's RBI fielder's choice in the six scored Nick Hill to bring an end to scoring in game one.

Weber remained on the mound until the final out as he was replaced with Mason Munford (S, 1) who picked up the save after forcing a fly out against the first batter he faced.

In the win, Mares went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI with Huffaker accounting for the other RBI while hitting 1-for-3.

Game Two (W, 5-2)
In the top of the second, a leadoff double by Marco Garmendia followed by a hit-by-pitch for Dylan April, set up a two RBI triple from Sawyer Morain. Morain's hit scored Garmendia and April to place ASU with an early 2-0 lead.

Bailey Garcia cruised through six innings and took a 2-1 lead into the seventh when the Aggies knotted the game with a run off a Garcia wild pitch. Garcia was pulled to begin the eighth in favor of reliever Ryan Ferguson who worked out of a jam to keep the score tied. A defensive error placed OPSU's leadoff runner on first who quickly moved to second via a sacrifice bunt. Ferguson hit the next batter but followed with a strikeout and ground out to escape the frame unharmed. The Aggies placed a runner on third in the bottom of the ninth with two outs but Ferguson drew a groundout to second base to keep the game tied.

Evan Weidner, Garmendia, and Mares connected for RBI knocks in the top of the 10th to give ASU a 5-2 lead. Weidner's game-winning RBI hit scored Erik Hildebrandt who scored from second after leading off with a walk and advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. Weidner scored via a Mares triple down the right field line as Garmendia followed with a single up the middle to bring Mares in to score.

Dramatics continued once again in the bottom of the frame as a wild pitch and OPSU groundout advanced runners into scoring position. With just one out needed Head Coach Jim Capra called on Munford from the bullpen once again. The senior made quick work in his second appearance of the day with a strikeout to end the game and preserve the 5-2 win.

Garmendia and Mares each went 3-for-5 with a run scored and RBI as Weidner hit 2-for-5 with a run scored and RBI. Morain went 1-for-2 with a RBI. Ferguson (1-2) picked up the win after entering the game to begin the eighth. The senior tossed 2.2 innings with two strikeouts and one hit allowed. With the start, Garcia lasted 7.0 innings with seven strikeouts, five hits, and two runs allowed. Munford (S, 2) picked up his second save of the day after striking out the only batter he faced in his game two appearance.

Game Three (L 5-4)
The Grizzlies (6-8) briefly took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 11th but the Aggies (4-12) answered with a two RBI hit in the bottom of the frame to secure the win.

Nate Kelly helped the Aggies take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second. After a leadoff single, Kelly stole second base and later made his way around to home when the Aggies attempted an apparent double steal. On the play, Derek Stallworth was pinned down in a pickle play between first and second base. The play allowed Kelly to make his way in as the Grizzlies tagged Stallworth out.

Adams State came close to tying the game in the third. With two outs, and Michael Downs on first and Dustin Kachel at second, ASU pulled off a double steal of their own. The play placed both Downs and Kachel in scoring position with Evan Weidner at the plate. The Grizzlies were unable to make any further moves as Weidner lined out to end the frame.  

Downs made it a 1-1 game in the sixth by scoring ASU's first run. Downs reached base with a leadoff bunt and moved over to second via a groundout. Downs then advanced two bases to score thanks to an Oklahoma Panhandle defensive error.
Downs played a role in giving ASU its first lead in the seventh. With two outs and Dustin Kachel and Nick Hill in scoring position, Downs reached base via an error on the OPSU pitcher. The play scored both Kachel and Hill to give ASU a 3-1 lead.
The Grizzlies would not leave the bottom of the frame with a lead as the Aggies responded with a pair of runs to knot the game again at 3-3. Tiler Fletcher and Joseph Cerda each grabbed a RBI hit off pitcher Josh Keaton who entered the game to begin the fifth inning.

Adams State loaded the bases in the top of the ninth as Weidner entered the batter's box with two outs. Unfortunately, Weidner was unable to send a run across as the senior struck out swinging. The Aggies loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth with two outs but Keaton forced Robert Rodriguez to pop up; sending the game into extra innings.

A walk placed Marco Garmendia on base in the tenth as the senior stole second and quickly advanced to third on the play thanks to a throwing error. Garmendia was eventually tagged out, however, trying to reach home. Ryne Niemi then struck out looking to end the frame.

Three consecutive singles loaded the bases for Downs in the 11th with one out. Downs would bring Grant Templin in to score after drawing a walk to give Adams State a 4-3 lead. The Aggies loaded the bases in the bottom of the 11th as B.J. Henry notched a two RBI single to end the game in walk-off fashion for OPSU.

Keaton (2-2) picked up the loss in 6.1 innings of work. Keaton allowed four runs off eight hits while striking out four batters and walking four. Daniel Brennan lasted 4.0 innings with six strikeouts and one run off two hits in a starting role.

Kachel, Downs, and Hill paced the offense with two hits apiece. The Grizzlies recorded a single-game high nine stolen bases in the loss with Kachel and Hill each stealing three bags. The team entered the game with only three stolen bases on the season.

Adams State travels to Regis University to begin RMAC play with a four-game series beginning March 10th at 2pm.