In a game that spanned almost 20 hours and included a rain delay, two different fields, and a halt overnight, Seattle University defeated Texas-Pan American, 13-8, in a Western Athletic Conference game that began Saturday night at Meridian Park Field in Shoreline, Wash., before concluding Sunday afternoon at Triton Field on the campus of Edmonds Community College.
After UTPA left the bases loaded in the top of the first inning, the game was delayed for 32 minutes due to a rain shower. After the game was resumed in the bottom of the first, Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) drove in Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.) with a double to right field to put the Redhawks on the board.
Jesus Garcia led off the top of the third inning with a double, and Alex Howe was hit by a pitch. After Seattle U starter Connor Moore (West Richland, Wash.) struck out the next Bronc batter, Dillon Engelhart drove in Garcia with a single through the left side of the infield, tying the game at 1-1.
In the bottom of the third, Brock Carpenter (Milton, Wash.) sent a double into left field, scoring Olson, and Cullen Hendrickson (Auburn, Wash.) reached on a bunt single to put runners on the corners with one out. After Michael McCann (Vancouver, Wash.) walked to load the bases, Griffin Andreychuk (Nanaimo, B.C.) laid down a successful bunt single, scoring Carpenter.
Ryan Somers (Sammamish, Wash.) drew a walk to force in Hendrickson with another run, and McCann would score when Bronc catcher Brandon Roush could not handle the throw home on Chase Fields’s (Ontario, Ore.) bunt, increasing the Redhawk lead to 5-1.
Texas-Pan American (11-19, 1-5 WAC) struck back in the top of the fourth, starting when Roush reached first on a strikeout after Olson could not handle Moore’s pitch. Andy Fortuna walked, and Garcia singled up the middle to load the bases. Roush scored on a groundout by Howe, and Alberto Morales drew a walk to once again load the bases, this time with two outs.
Engelhart sent a single into center field, but Fields mishandled the ball, allowing all three runners to score and Engelhart to reach third base. Fields attempted to make a diving catch on a ball hit by Bryan Ramirez but missed it, allowing the ball to roll to the wall, Engelhart to score, and Ramirez to advance to third base with a triple, putting the Broncs in the lead, 6-5.
After Olson drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourth inning, Matthew Harrell came on in relief of UTPA starter Blake English, but a wild pitch and a passed ball allowed Olson to advance to third base. Carpenter would drive Olson in with a single, Hendrickson drew a walk, and both runners executed a double steal.
With Hendrickson on third base and two outs, McCann drove him in with a single to right field, and Andreychuk would follow with a double to left field that scored McCann. After another Bronc pitching change, Somers drove in Andreychuk with a double to right field, Fields drew a walk, and Cray sent a shot into right field for a double, scoring both Somers and Fields to extend Seattle U’s lead to 11-6.
“We were really good offensively, but we got caught in a buzz saw where we could not get them out,” Seattle U head coach Donny Harrel said. “I give credit to our offense as they kept coming and answered their five-spot with a six-run inning.”
Pitching in his hometown, Ted Hammond (Shoreline, Wash.), who eventually was credited with the win, overcame a Redhawk error in the fifth inning to retire the Broncs, and at that time the game was halted as the 10 p.m. curfew closed in. Play resumed Sunday at Edmonds Community College, with neither team scoring in their first at-bat of the day.
In the bottom of the sixth, Somers and Fields led off the inning with back-to-back singles, followed by a single to left field by Cray that scored Somers. UTPA responded in the top of the seventh when Roush led off with a double to left field and came in to score on consecutive groundouts.
The Redhawks loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning on singles by Sam Finfer (Bellevue, Wash.) and Andreychuk as well as a walk drawn by Somers, and pinch runner Colin Peterson (Bellingham, Wash.) would score when Fields was hit by a pitch. With two outs in the top of the eighth inning, pinch hitter Omar Avila launched a fly ball that landed just inside the right field foul line for a double, and Victor Garcia Jr. drove him in with a single to center field.
“Today our goal was to win a four-inning game, and we ended up tied 2-2, but it was good to get our bullpen guys some innings,” Harrel said. “Anytime you can sweep a conference opponent, it’s a huge advantage. Our guys are feeling good, and it sets us up well going against the best team in the conference in Sacramento State. The resiliency of the guys dealing with weather and field changes was great to see.”
In a game that totaled close to four hours of playing time, the teams combined for 30 hits and left 26 runners on base. Andreychuk went 4-for-5, while Cray batted 3-for-6 with three runs batted in. The Broncs were led offensively by Jesus Garcia, who went 4-for-5, with Engelhart notching two hits and three runs batted in during the game.
With the victory, Seattle U earned its first conference weekend sweep since joining the WAC last year and its first three-game sweep of any series since the baseball program came back in 2010. The Redhawks also extended their winning streak to five games, tying the modern record for longest winning streak with a five-game streak from Feb. 29 to March 7, 2012.
Seattle University (11-11, 3-0 WAC) will host Portland Wednesday, April 2, starting at 4 p.m. at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue, followed by a three-game series at the other WAC team undefeated in conference play, Sacramento State, next weekend.