Young pitchers step up

After meeting halfway at William Woods University, the Baker University baseball team split the doubleheader against conference opponent Culver-Stockton College Tuesday.

In the first game, the Wildcat offense was unable to produce a run in the 6-0 loss. Despite a solid pitching performance, junior Bryce Davin received the loss. Head coach Phil Hannon said Davin pitched well enough for the team to win, but there was no run support from the Wildcat bats.

"(Culver-Stockton) had a very good pitcher, and we just didn't make adjustments," Hannon said. "He kept us off balance."

With several pitching performances, the 'Cats came back and took the second game 7-6. Freshman Danny Cast sparked the Baker offense by going three for four at the plate. Baker maintained the lead the entire game until Culver-Stockton tied the score at six in the top of the seventh inning. Freshman Nick Peterson singled to begin the seventh inning and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by senior Tim McConn. A single by senior Ben Mejia gave the Wildcats the win. Pitchers Hanson Perkins, Nick Burd, Michael Strnad, Grant Lambert and Jake Landis all shared playing time in the victory.

Landis said the "game by committee" was a good opportunity to give several pitchers experience.

"It was a good chance to get guys out of the bullpen and give some innings," he said.

On April 2, Baker traveled to Lamoni, Iowa, to take on Graceland University, a Heart of America Athletic Conference West Division opponent. Freshman Joe Kaup pitched a no-hitter through six 1/3 innings to guide the 'Cats to a 4-1 victory.

Hannon said he was impressed by Kaup's performance.

"It was just outstanding," he said. "The biggest thing with Joe is we have to understand that he's only been pitching collegiate baseball his four or five starts here; he's still a freshman pitcher."

In the second game, the Yellow Jackets grabbed an 8-1 lead after four innings. With two outs in the sixth inning, senior Dan Carr ignited the Baker offense with a three-run homerun making the score 8-4. Down to the last out in the seventh inning, senior Ben Mejia gave the 'Cats hope after advancing to first base by a dropped third strike. After Baker manage to collect a few hits and another run, junior Kyle King tied the game at eight with a three-run homerun. Baker took the lead after a wild pitch.

King said he approached the plate looking for just a base hit.

"I was just thinking, 'Just get a hit, and likely enough, I put it over the fence,'" King said. "I'd been struggling all weekend, and in a situation like that, I stepped up and pulled through for the team."

Landis pitched a shutout the last three innings of the game, with eight strikeouts and no walks. The normal closer said he treated all three innings as if he were still closing the game.

"I treated every inning like it was a save and kept the same mindset as always," Landis said.

A day before, Baker split with Graceland, winning 7-2 then losing 2-1 at Sauder Field. Senior Logan Peck provided a solid pitching performance from the mound in the first game.

In game two, the undefeated sophomore pitcher, Jeremiah Johnson, received his first loss of the season. Although he gave a strong showing on the mound, the Wildcat offense was no help to Johnson in the team's 2-1 loss.

Baker will continue its West Division conference play today as it hosts William Jewell College in a double header starting at 5 p.m. eled to Lamoni, Iowa, to take on Graceland University, a Heart of America Athletic Conference West Division opponent. Freshman Joe Kaup pitched a no-hitter through six 1/3 innings to guide the 'Cats to a 4-1 victory.

Hannon said he was impressed by Kaup's performance.

"It was just outstanding," he said. "The biggest thing with Joe is we have to understand that he's only been pitching collegiate baseball his four or five starts here; he's still a freshman pitcher."

In the second game, the Yellowjackets grabbed an 8-1 lead after four innings. With two outs in the sixth inning, senior Dan Carr ignited the Baker offense with a three-run homerun making the score 8-4. Down to the last out in the seventh inning, senior Ben Mejia gave the 'Cats hope after advancing to first base by a dropped third strike. After Baker managed to collect a few hits and another run, junior Kyle King tied the game at eight with a three-run homerun. Baker took the lead after a wild pitch.

King said he approached the plate looking for just a base hit.

"I was just thinking, 'Just get a hit, and likely enough, I put it over the fence,'" King said. "I'd been struggling all weekend, and in a situation like that, I stepped up and pulled through for the team."

Landis pitched a shutout the last three innings of the game, with eight strikeouts and no walks. The normal closer said he treated all three innings as if he were still closing the game.

"I treated every inning like it was a save and kept the same mindset as always," Landis said.

A day before, Baker split with Graceland, winning 7-2, then losing 2-1 at Sauder Field.

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