Sewanee, CTX open with impressive pitching performances

Pictured is Matthew Williams was one of three
pitchers who combined for the first nine-inning
shutout for the Tornados since defeating LeTourneau
9-0 on March 10, 2017.

Concordia-Texas athletics photo

Sewanee began the 2019 season on Friday with a 7-3 victory over the Quakers of Guilford College at the Huntingdon Firehouse Classic at Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits. Trey Holland earned the win and saw his perfect game end with one out in the fifth. Host Huntingdon defeated Berea 2-0 in the final game of the day in the Firehouse Classic.

Diego Cruz-Garcia, Matthew Williams and Caleb Nicholson combined to throw 9 scoreless innings while allowing just five hits and striking out 11 to help Concordia Texas open the 2019 season by defeating Linfield 4-0 at QuickTrip Field. With the win, CTX has now won their season opener three straight seasons with the previous two both resulting in trips to the NCAA Regionals. Williams, a junior from Austin, Texas, picked up right where he left off in 2018, giving up just two hits over 4.2 innings. The 2018 First Team All-American Southwest Conference selection fanned seven hitters on the day. Cruz-Garcia got the start on the mound and tossed 3.0 scoreless frames, while striking out three, and allowing three hits, while Nicholson picked up the save after throwing 1.1 hitless frames.

All streaks must come to an end, fortunately for Whitman this was an inauspicious one. David Johnson delivered two hits and two runs, Tristan Kalnins tossed four and one-third innings of relief for win and the Blues ended an 11-game season-opening losing streak with a 5-4 win over Texas-Dallas on Friday at the Cactus Classic. The Blues never trailed and used what proved to be a needed big seventh inning to pace to the win. Whitman took advantage of three Texas-Dallas errors and RBI hits from Alex Behrman (2 H, 1 R, 1 RBI) and Matthew Sox (1 H, 1 RBI) to put three on the board and take a 5-2 lead. Craig Thomas had a monster game for the Comets, hitting 4-5 with three runs and one RBI. Ryan Burciaga added two hits and one run scored. Whitman dropped their night cap 4-1 to Cal Lutheran.

The Brevard Tornados used nine runs in the first three innings, coupled with a strong first start of 2019 by RHP Bryce Foster to propel itself to a commanding 12-5 victory over William Peace at the USA National Baseball Training Complex in Cary, N.C. Foster, a junior hometown product from Brevard High School, was in control throughout his five innings pitched. In five innings of action, Foster surrendered just two earned runs on four hits, striking out an impressive six batters while walking three late in his outing. Foster, who made appearances in 2018 mainly as a relief pitcher, earned his first career victory in just his second career start for Brevard.

Pomona-Pitzer started off 2019 with a big 14-4 win over non-conference opponent Puget Sound at Alumni Field. The Sagehens were led by junior Jeremy Jess who started out his 2019 strong with a 3-4 performance with four RBI, three runs and a home run in the win. Juniors Nolan McCafferty and Jeremiah Quezada also tallied multi-hit games as McCafferty ended 2-4 with a walk and Quezada went 2-5 with four RBI.

No. 3 Texas Lutheran overcame a quick 2-0 deficit to post a 9-5 win over the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor at the Rusty Greer / Jackie Moore Classic at AirHogs Stadium. TLU received 5.1 innings of two-hit baseball from senior right-hander Drew Waller. Fellow senior Cody Rimko tossed the final 3-2/3 innings and picked up the save. Waller struck out six and walked three. He did not allow an earned run.

Piedmont picked up a 6-5 win over Pacific to begin action at the Cactus Classic. Piedmont's Barrett Courtwright picked up the win on the mound in relief in an impressive showing by the Piedmont pen.  The Piedmont bullpen allowed just one run over the final 4.1 innings of the contest allowing just three hits during that span.

Day two of the Cactus Classic had mixed results for
Pacific Lutheran, downing La Verne 8-6 in the
opening game before a pair of prickly innings derailed
PLU in the nightcap, falling 15-5 to No. 20 Chapman.

Pacific Lutheran athletics photo

Oglethorpe started their season in style at Anderson Field, blanking the Covenant Scots 5-0 and getting an outstanding debut from freshman right-hander Jonathan Haab, who didn't allow a run in six innings of outstanding work. He struck out nine Scots and scattered three hits en route to his first career victory.

Louisiana College opened up their season at Billy Allgood field for their first taste of home action in a doubleheader against Champion Christian College. The Cats were looking to put their season opening 6-2 loss behind them and they did just that as they held Champion to just a total of five runs in both games.  Louisiana won 17-2, 18-3. Peyton Bogan leads the Wilcats on the season with a .600 average.

Methodist  opened its 2019 season with a home doubleheader at Shelley-Armstrong Field sweeping non-conference opponent Roanoke 7-4 in game one and 8-7 in the night cap. Alex Kachler and Tucker Criswell teamed up for five hits apiece on the day.

Whitworth opened the 2019 season with an 11-0 win over College of Idaho, but the Pirates dropped the second game of the road doubleheader 7-6 when they couldn't hold a 5-0 lead. Nicholas Nerud drove in four runs for Whitworth in the doubleheader. The Bucs and Coyotes will complete the non-conference series with a second doubleheader on Saturday.

Hendrix traveled west to take on Hardin-Simmons to open the 2019 season for just the fifth time in program history. After the Cowboys were able to win the first four meetings, Hendrix took a 1-0 lead early in the first on a Tanner Cooper fielder's choice and the Warriors would not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the game; Hendrix won 4-3 for the Warriors' first opening day victory since the 2015 season and the first collegiate win for first-year Head Coach Sean McSheffery.

Junior starting pitcher Jack Poe threw seven scoreless innings and McMurry held off a ninth inning Schreiner rally to earn an 8-5 victory in its season opener at Walt Driggers Field. Poe, named to the American Southwest Conference Preseason Watch List, proved he was worth of the accolades with his performance on the mound. He allowed four hits and three walks while striking out five over his seven innings of work.  He was efficient, as well, needing just 81 pitches.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripts opened the 2019 season with a 9-6 victory over Lewis & Clark at Bill Arce Field. Zach Clarke launched a three-run home run and Justin Hull struck out eight over 5.0 innings to send the Stags to victory. The Stags move to 1-0 on the season and behind a seven-run middle-inning effort to open the season with a big four-run victory, and have won the last three games against the Lewis & Clark Pioneers dating back to the opening weekend of 2018. The turning point of the game was when Clarke came up to the plate with two on and one out in the bottom of fifth inning and promptly drilled a home run over the left field fence putting the Stags up 7-1 through five innings. Prior to the three-run shot, Patrick Gavin drove in Henri Levenson with an RBI-single to centerfield to give the Stags a 4-1 cushion.

Belhaven opened up the 2019 season on the winning end, defeating the LeTourneau Yellow Jackets by a final score of 5-4 to begin head coach Hill Denson's final season with a 1-0 record. he Blazers collected 9 total hits as a team. Evan Moore led Belhaven offensively, going 2-for-3 at the plate, with a single, double, and 2 RBI's. Gasper D'Anna was 2-for-4 with one run scored.

LaGrange beat visiting Birmingham-Southern to open the 2019 season at Cleaveland Field at Williamson Stadium. The Panthers snapped a nine-game losing streak to BSC dating back to the 2012 season. Freshman outfielder Joe Ruth had two hits, including a triple, and drove in three runs to lead LC's 9-hit attack. First baseman Trey Pearce also had two hits. Rhett Hollon and Austin McDade each had a double. Junior Richie Post pitched into the sixth inning to get the win. Post gave up both BSC runs, only one was earned, while scattering six hits. Tanner Chafin, Spencer Douches, and Michael Menheart combined for 3.1 innings of scoreless relief, allowing two hits.

Redlands split a pair of games at the Tucson Invite. In the first game against Sul Ross State, explosive bats from the Bulldogs lifted them to an 8-5 showing for their first victory of the season. In the nightcap of the doubleheader against George Fox, the Maroon and Gray lost steam in a 1-7 loss.