The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor baseball team opened American Southwest Conference play with a doubleheader sweep of Belhaven University Friday evening in Jackson, Mississippi. UMHB took game one 4-1 and claimed a 7-1 victory in game two. The Cru is now 4-5 overall and 2-0 in ASC play on the season. The losses drop the Blazers to 2-10 overall and 0-5 in league play on the year.
The Cru jumped out to a quick lead in game one and never looked back on the way to a 4-1 victory. UMHB opened with three straight singles before Landon Dieterch drew a bases loaded walk to score the first run. Hunter McQuary added an RBI fielder's choice, Riley Davis would score on a Blazer error and Austin Blanford's sacrifice fly gave the Cru a 4-0 lead. It would stay that way into the bottom of the fifth before Belhaven scored an unearned run to cut it to 4-1. Jeb Zolman shut the Blazers down with two innings of perfect relief to close it out and earn his first save at UMHB. Casey Frazier scattered four hits over five innings and allowed just the one unearned run to get the win. Frazier struck out seven and walked just one. Dakota Best had two of the Cru's six hits in the victory.
UMHB took a little longer to get the bats going in game two. The game was scoreless into the top of the fifth inning. Blanford reached on an error to start it off and then came around to score on Dawson Shibley's single. Best singled home Devon Patterson to make it 2-0. Belhaven loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of that frame, but Evan Samoff limited the Blazers to just one run on a fielder's choice as the lead was cut to 2-1. Mitch Patterson singled home two more runs in the top of the sixth to stretch the Cru lead to 4-1. UMHB added a run on Davis' RBI groundout in the top of the seventh inning. Devon Patterson's RBI groundout in the top of the eighth gave the Cru a 6-1 advantage and Blanford pushed it to 7-1 with an RBI single in the top of the ninth to close out the scoring. Samoff scattered seven hits over seven innings of work to earn the win and move to 1-0 on the season. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter. Connor Heussner closed it out, striking out three more in two innings of three-hit relief. Best had four hits and Blanford added three more as the Cru rapped out 14 hits as a team in the victory.
The two teams will close out the series with a 1:00 PM single game on Saturday. UMHB will then return home to host Southwestern University in a 6:00 PM non-conference game next Tuesday.