Scoring seven runs in the top of the first, the St. Clair Bulldogs cruised to victory Monday at East Central College over Union, 10-4.
St. Clair (7-8, 2-3) could do little wrong during the top half of the opening frame. By the time Union (3-7, 3-3) was able to escape the jam, seven runs had crossed the plate. And that was just too much for Union to make up.
“Our boys came out fired up,” St. Clair Head Coach Rob Hauck said. “Union is always a really tough team and we knew we had to bring our best to beat them. We jumped on them early with seven runs in the first and defensively Travis pitched a great game. Those seven runs gave us a lot of confidence to start the game and we never backed down, which is what we needed to do. They settled in after the first and only allowed three more runs the rest of the game.”
Union Head Coach Ryan Bailey said the first inning was too much to overcome.
“St. Clair jumped on us for seven runs in the first inning and we never had a chance to catch our breath,” Bailey said. “They do a very good job of putting the ball in play and in that first inning every hit found some outfield grass. We had a few mistakes that compounded the situation, but overall it was just them executing at the plate.”
After the opening frame, Union settled down. However, St. Clair’s Travis Sanders didn’t give the Wildcats much of a chance to come back.
“Even though we jumped out early I think our big key was the pitching and good defense by Travis,” said Hauck. “If we give up some early in that game it might have changed the complexion of the game. He kept the ball down and the rest of the team made the plays behind him. We executed exactly how we planned.”
Sanders went six innings while allowing four runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out four.
Brenden Murphy pitched the final inning, allowing one walk while striking out one batter.
St. Clair added another run in the top of the fourth, but Union finally got on the board in the bottom of that inning with one run.
Union cut the gap to 8-4 in the bottom of the sixth, but the Bulldogs added two final runs in the top of the seventh.
St. Clair outhit Union, 12-4. Union made two errors to St. Clair’s one.
Offensively, Austin Gotway and Jesse Sheldon each had three hits for St. Clair. Gotway scored once and drove in two runs. Sheldon scored twice and drove in three.
Murphy and Blake Dierking each had two hits. Murphy scored once, drove in one run and walked. Dierking doubled, scored twice and drove in two runs.
Logan Williams suffered the loss for the Wildcats. He went three innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on six hits and two walks. He struck out four.
Trey Fink closed out the game for Union. He went four innings, allowing three runs on six hits, two walks and one hit batter. He struck out two.
Offensively, Union’s hits came from Tyler Johnson, Devon Fennessey, Jordan Weaks and Ashton Dehn.
Derek King, Johnson, Dillen Myers and Fennessey scored runs.
Weaks drove in three runs while Fennessey had the other RBI.
Austin Bentlage walked twice while King, Myers and Andrew Lenau each walked once. Johnson stole a base.