BELTON, Texas – The Baldwin Wallace University baseball team split a pair of games today at host Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) University on Red Murff Field on the second to last day of their Annual Spring Break trip. The Yellow Jackets defeated DeSales (Pa.) University, 5-1, in their first game of the day, but lost 5-4 in the nightcap against host MHB.
In the first game, BW (5-5) took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. The Yellow Jackets added another run in the third to lead 3-0. The Bulldogs (2-4) cut the BW lead to 3-1 with a run in the top of the fifth, but the Jackets came right back to score one of their own in the bottom half of the frame to regain a three-run advantage at 4-1. The BW lead grew to 5-1 with a run in the seventh.
The Yellow Jackets offense was led by junior rightfielder Cole Nieto (Brunswick/ ClevelandSt. Ignatius) and senior two-time Academic All-OAC centerfielder John Taylor (Stow/ Hudson). Nieto was 2-for-3 with three runs scored, a double, home run and a run batted-in (RBI). Taylor was 2-for-4.
On the mound, senior three-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference right-handed pitcher Mark Zimmerman (Akron/ Green) started and pitched the first seven innings to gain the victory and improve to 3-0 and lower his earned run average (ERA) to 1.37 overall. He allowed just two base hits and one run (earned), struck out 11 and walked two. Senior righty Connor Murphy (Westford, Mass./ Northeast) relieved Zimmerman and pitched the final two innings, allowed one hit, struck out one and walked one.
In the second game, BW (5-6) gained a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning for its second straight good start to a game. The Crusaders (7-9) cut BW's lead in half with a run of their own in the bottom of the first. BW increased itslead to 3-1 with a run in the fourth. MHB again cut the Jacket lead to 3-2 with a run in the sixth, but BW came right back to make it 4-2 with a run in the seventh. The Crusaders gained a 5-4 lead with a three-run eighth.
At the plate, sophomore second baseman Spencer Badia (Bellaire), Zimmerman and Taylor led the way as BW outhit MHB, 10-5. Badia was 2-for-4 with a run scored and a double. Zimmerman was 2-for-4 with a run scored, triple and RBI. Taylor was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
On the mound, senior righthander Alex Albright (North Royalton) started and pitched the first six innings, received a no-decision and lowered his ERA to 4.05 overall. He allowed four hits and two runs (both earned), struck out two and walked three. He was relieved by Connor Murphy who pitched a scoreless seventh, but walked the first two hitters in the bottom of the eighth. He received the loss and fell to 0-2 this season. Murphy was replaced by senior Brandon Cichocki (Walled Lake, Mich./ Central) who got the first two hitters out that he faced with one scoring via a groundout, but a two-run homer gave MHB a 5-4 lead.
BW is back in action next Saturday, March 19 when the Yellow Jackets travel to Terre Haute, Indiana to play two games. First, BW will play Illinois Weseyan University at 11 a.m. and then play host Rose-Hulman (Ind.) Institute of Technology at 2 p.m.