Energy was in the air Friday when the Union baseball Wildcats opened the season in Rolla.
And the Wildcats took advantage, rolling to an 8-4 road victory.
“We had a great crowd make the hour drive to Rolla to cheer for us,” Union Head Coach Ryan Bailey said. “It was an exciting opening day and we’d like to thank the parents and fans for all they do for Union baseball. It is appreciated very much by the coaching staff and the players.”
Union wasted little time in jumping out to the lead in the game, scoring two runs in the first and three more in the top of the second.
“I was very happy with the way we played and how we responded to being on a field for the first time all year,” Bailey said. “The guys looked sharp during warmups and came out being aggressive at the plate. Our bench was into the game from the first pitch, we ran the bases aggressively, and we didn’t make one mistake with picking up our signs. From a first game standpoint, we did a nice job.”
Rolla struck for three runs in the second, but Union replied with three additional runs in the fourth inning. Rolla scored its final run in the bottom of the fourth.
The Wildcats recorded 13 hits and four errors to go with their eight runs. Rolla scored its runs on four hits.
“We banged out 13 hits and they were spread out across the lineup,” Bailey said. “Brendan Schumaker played his first game in two years coming back from injury and had three hits and scored three times. Aldwin Fleer had a pinch hit single that scored two and was at a crucial point in the game. Our three top hitters back from last year, Devon Fennessey, Jordan Weaks, and Dillen Myers, all had multiple-hit games or hit the ball very well just right at people. We can still get a lot better at the plate, but it was a great way to get the season started.”
The Wildcats used two pitchers in the game.
Jordan Weaks started and was the winner, going four innings. He allowed four runs (one earned) on three hits and five walks while striking out six.
“Jordan looked a little rusty on the mound but when we needed him he definitely got the job done,” Bailey said. “Rolla had two innings where they could have tied us up or taken the lead and he bared down and got us out of the inning with limited damage. He should have a good season as we move forward.”
Ashton Dehn threw three innings while earning the save. He allowed one hit, one walk and struck one batter. He fanned four.
“Ashton came in and looked sharp,” Bailey said. “With his fastball and how much it moves we thought he would be hard for the Rolla hitters to handle and he proved that true. He did a nice job of coming into a game with the lead and just throwing strikes.”
Schumaker led the Wildcats with three this, three runs and a walk.
Fennessey, Myers and Brendan Burgess recorded two hits each. Fennessey scored twice and walked. Myers drove in three and was hit by a pitch.
Batters with one hit each were Weaks, Fleer, Drew Juengel and Dehn.
Weaks drove in a run and walked. Fleer scored once and drove in two. Juengel doubled and walked. Dehn scored and walked.
Trey Fink walked to drive in a run.