BELLEVUE, Wash. – (Apr. 20) Seattle University baseball erupted for eight runs in the first two innings of play Friday night at Bannerwood Park as the Redhawks returned to Western Athletic Conference play with a 12-8 win over UTRGV.
Winners of six straight, the Redhawks move to 24-10 on the season and 7-3 in WAC play. The Vaqueros drop to 18-20 overall and 4-6 in the WAC.
Tarik Skubal matched his season high with 12 strikeouts in a dominating 5.2 innings as he improved to 6-0. The redshirt junior southpaw gave a double to lead off the game, but would go on to strike out the side and set the tone.
"Tarik gave up that leadoff double, but then strikes out the side and we knew it was going to be a special night for him," said Head Coach Donny Harrel. "Our offense was also really engaged with four runs early and four runs in the second."
The Redhawks wasted no time getting to UTRGV starter Carter Johnson. Austin Lively opened the home half of the inning by reaching on a hit-by-pitch to stretch his on-base streak to 31 consecutive games. Curtis Perrin doubled to right, Dalton Hurd singled to left to score Lively and Sean Sutton launched a home run over the right-center field fence for a 4-0 advantage.
Following a quick 1-2-3 top of the second, the Redhawks tacked on four more run to make it 8-0 through two complete. Hurd launched a two-run homer, Chase Wells delivered an RBI-single and Jack Reisinger did the same.
A UTRGV pitching change in the third kept the Redhawks off the board in the inning, but they would tack on two more in both the fourth and the fifth.
The Vaqueros pushed a pair of runs across the plate in the top of the fourth on an RBI-single and a bases loaded balk. Skubal would return to form in the fifth as he struck out the side for a dozen strikeouts on the night.
With a 12-2 lead, two outs and one runner on in the sixth, Skubal gave way to the bullpen. One run would score in the frame to make it 12-3 before the Vaqueros would score five in the seventh to make it 12-8, Redhawks.
"We've got do a better job on the bridge," said Harrel. "We're one pitch away from getting having an opportunity to finish this in seven innings, but we lost a little bit of focus with the guys coming in and anticipating that the game was going to be over. Overall, however, we got really good performances from our seniors - Dalton, Sean, Lucas and Jack - and it was a good win on Friday night."
Tyler Yeh came in and struck out the side in the eighth, but ran into some trouble closing out the ninth. After walking the first two batters, Yeh gave way to Zach Wolf to close out the game and earn his eighth save of the season.
Lucas Denney finished with three hits, including a home run, and three RBIs. Hurd, Sutton, Wells and Reisinger added two hits apiece.
The three-game WAC series between Seattle U and UTRGV continues Saturday with a 3 p.m. first pitch at Bannerwood Park.