Play at the Plate

Borgia catcher Justin Baylard turns to tag Pacific runner Noah Brocato during action Wednesday at Borgia. Brocato was called out, but the Indians outslugged Borgia, 14-8.

Turning to hot bats, the Pacific baseball Indians outslugged Borgia Wednesday afternoon in Washington, 14-8.

“What I was impressed with was that every time Borgia scored we answered right back the next inning,” Pacific Head Coach Jeff Reed said. “I think the only one we didn’t was in the seventh. We had some really good approaches at the plate and it showed with some of their results.”

Borgia Head Coach Rob Struckhoff was happy with his team’s offensive output as well.

“One area I was happy about was our hitting,” Struckhoff said. “We faced a couple of their best pitchers and really did a good job. Scoring eight runs on a pitching staff coached by Jeff is an accomplishment. It was good to see Justin Baylard get into one for a home run. I don’t think it took more than two seconds for that one to get out.”

Besides Baylard’s home run, Pacific’s James Howie and Ryan Howell also launched shots over the center field fence.

For the Indians, Howie, Noah Brocato, Lane Smith and Tyler Straatmann posted two hits apiece. Hank Vandaveer, Hunter Finney, Tanner Brown and Howell posted one hit each.

Howell scored three runs. Howie, Brocato, Straatmann and Brown scored twice. Smith and Drew Fonner scored one run apiece.

Smith drove in three. Brocato and Howell each had two RBIs. Howie, Vandaveer, Finney and Brown each had one RBI.

Howie, Vandaveer, Finney and Straatmann doubled.

Howell walked three times.

Vandaveer started and went 3.2 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on five hits and three walks. He struck out four.

Austin Muich earned the win, going 3.1 innings. He allowed two unearned runs on three hits and one walk while fanning four.

For Borgia, Justin Horace and Evan Ayers each had two hits. Mitchell Hammack, John Himmelberg, Spencer Juergens, Jacob Wunderlich and Baylard had one hit apiece.

Baylard scored twice. Hammack, Himmelberg, Horace, Ayers, Juergens and Philip Swoboda each scored once.

Horace drove in two. Hammack, Himmelberg, Wunderlich, Baylard and Swoboda each had one RBI.

Hammack, Himmelberg, Horace, Juergens and Wunderlich doubled.

Hammack started and went four innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits and three walks. He struck out three.

Ayers went one inning and took the loss, allowing five runs on four hits and four walks.

Jacob Grellner pitched the final two innings, giving up three runs on two hits and two walks. He struck out one.

It was the second time Pacific had beaten the Knights on the Borgia field. The two teams also squared off in the third-place game of the Four Rivers Classic with Pacific winning that one as well.

The two meetings couldn’t have been more different. In the first meeting, it was cold, cloudy and windy with the pitchers and defenses taking care of things in a Pacific shutout win.

On Wednesday, it was sunny and warm and the bats heated up as well.

The scoring started in the second inning. Pacific scored twice, but Borgia came back with three runs.

The Indians scored three times in the third and Borgia scored once.

Things evened up again in the fourth inning with one Pacific run and two Borgia runs.

The Indians broke things open in the fifth with six runs. Borgia got two back, but couldn’t get any closer.

Neither coach was completely happy.

“This was our first game back in over a week,” Reed said. “Practice inside you can only do so much and it showed with our defense at times. We didn’t get some good reads on fly balls that should have been caught.”

Struckhoff said Borgia wasn’t sharp, either.

“For us this game was full of mental mistakes,” Struckhoff said. “We only made one true error in the game, but we had other problems. Not knowing how many outs there were when on the base paths, running into outs at third on ground balls to shortstop, cutting balls on throws when not hearing ‘cut’ are all problems with concentration. Believe me, these will be addressed in practice.”

Pitching wasn’t strong, either.

“To go along with the mental errors, our pitching staff had trouble throwing strikes,” Struckhoff said. “Give Pacific credit, they really swing the bat well. But when you give them nine walks and they are consistently hitting with 2-0 and 3-1 counts, it makes it real easy on the hitter. We need some pitchers besides Spencer and Tyler to step up.”

Pacific was ready to swing away, Reed said.

“We have been working on some things in the cage with the guys and I could tell some were putting it to work,” Reed said. “What I really liked was we were hitting line drives and not popping thing up. That’s an indication that they are concentrating at the plate. Pretty much top to bottom of the lineup did well last night.”

Pacific defeated New Haven in Four Rivers Conference action Thursday, 20-10. Lucas Zurliene was the winning pitcher. Brocato doubled twice and drove in four. Vandaveer and Howell each had three hits.

Kyle Ruediger led New Haven with three hits.