Hardin-Simmons’ baseball team jumped out to a 7-0 lead and held on for a 12-9 win over Whittier on day two of the Arizona Desert Classic Friday afternoon at Boulder Creek High School in Anthem, Ariz.
The Cowboys scored three runs in the top of the first inning. Jason Vause led off the game with a single, Jon Finney walked and Marcus Uechi had a bunt single to load the bases and Andrew Bell followed with a two-run double. Troy Nicholson then drove in a run with a groundout.
HSU added four more runs in the third inning. Uechi and Bell led off with back-to-back singles and with one out Nicholson had an RBI single to center. Matt Hannagan then followed with an RBI single to left and moved to third when the relay throw went into the dugout. Zack Patino followed with an RBI single.
The Poets scored four times in the bottom of the third Stephen Zavala had the big blow with a three-run home run. Willie Renard later had an RBI single that chased Cowboy starter Stewart Person. Eric Zamora came in and got out of a jam and worked three and one-third innings to earn the win. Zamora allowed two runs on three hits and Person allowed four runs on six hits in two and two-third innings.
Both teams scored a pair of runs in the fourth inning. Hannagan had a two-run double for the Cowboys and Zavala and Jonathan Whipple had RBI singles for Whittier.
HSU pushed the lead to 11-6 in the sixth inning with a pair of runs driven in on freshman Caleb Jacques’ single.
Alex Bradley came on for the seventh inning and hit a batter and walked a batter to give way to Brandon Bollinger. Alex Mitchell and Cody Jensen had RBIs in the inning and another run scored on a wild pitch to make it 11-9.
The Poets had back-to-back singles to start the eighth but closer Tyler Brunnemann came on first his first action of the season and struck out the side.
In the ninth, Vause led off with a single, moved to second with a Finney sacrifice bunt, Uechi was hit by a pitch and Bell walked to load the bases and Brandon Walker walked for an RBI in his first career at-bat.
Brunnemann stuck out a pair of batters in a flawless ninth to earn his first save.
Ben Cerami took the loss for the Poets. Zavala led the Poet offense with three hits and he drove in four runs.
Uechi led the 19-hit HSU attack with four hits and Vause, Bell and Hannagan each had three hits for HSU.
The Cowboys are now 2-0 and Whittier fell to 0-2. HSU plays Whitman at 11 am CST on Saturday.
Information provided by HSU athletics department.