After notching its first victory of the season on Friday, the UTPB baseball team dropped both games of Saturday’s doubleheader to Southern Nazarene, losing 12-7 in the opener and 3-2 in the nightcap.
In the first game, UTPB trailed 8-0 in the second inning and 11-3 in the third. In the second game, the Falcons allowed the eventual winning run on a pair of two-out errors in the fifth inning, then ended the game with the winning run at the plate. Falcons coach Brian Reinke said it was a step back after splitting Friday’s games.
“We regressed. It’s my fault,” Reinke said. “I have to take 100 percent responsibility. I have assumed that since we have guys who are in college on a baseball team that they know how to play college baseball. We obviously don’t, so it’s 100 percent on me.
“We’ve got to start over on Monday. This was bad. It was not good at all.”
The Falcons closed out their season-opening homestand at 1-6. With nearly two weeks off before UTPB returns to action Feb. 23 at Colorado Christian, Reinke said hard work is the key to getting things turned around.
“You have to go back to doing some of the concepts that you should be able to do and work it step-by-step and move on from there,” he said.
For Southern Nazarene coach Robert Lee, the series represented a big step forward for the Crimson Storm (4-3).
“We had a good game last week, and then there was a game where we didn’t play well defensively and then our pitching kind of fell apart,” Lee said. “But I told our guys we just want to pursue the fundamentals and I was pretty pleased with that.
“We struggled a little bit offensively in (Friday’s) Game 1, but to our kids’ credit we didn’t hit all week. We couldn’t get outside. They threw a real good arm at us, so we battled. We scored some runs today and pitched well.”
In the opener, Southern Nazarene scored three runs in the first, five in the second and three in the third to offset UTPB’s three-run second and four-run third. Tanner Maskey drove in three runs for the Crimson Storm with Cole Wagner, Emilio Escobedo and Shelby Reese each driving in two runs. Reese went 3 for 4 as Southern Nazarene totaled 14 hits.
Cooper Coe drove in four runs for UTPB, delivering a bases-loaded double in the third. Dalton Drury had a two-run double in the second and Lance Wasson went 2 for 3 with an RBI double.
Southern Nazarene reliever Hugo Kinebuchi (1-0) got the win with 3 1-3 shutout innings after the Falcons got to starter Joe Toilolo for seven runs on five hits.
Matt Symczak (0-1) took the loss for UTPB, allowing eight runs on six hits in 1 2-3 innings.
In the second game, Southern Nazarene’s David Gustafson (1-1) pitched a complete game, striking out 10 while holding the Falcons to two runs on three hits. UTPB starter Quinton Rockwell (0-1) was charged with two runs on two hits in two innings before giving way to Alex Rivera, who struck out 12 in five innings of relief.
The Crimson Storm took a 2-0 lead on Austin Cooper’s sacrifice fly in the first and a double steal in the second. UTPB got on the board in the third when Drury tripled and scored on Tony Oslovar’s groundout.
Southern Nazarene went up 3-1 in the fifth when two errors allowed Cole Lee to circle the bases on a popup behind third base. The Falcons again got within one in the sixth when Wasson tripled and scored on Drury’s sacrifice fly.
“Offensively for a time there in the first game, I thought we did some good things,” Reinke said. “Their guy in the second game (Gustafson) did a good job of keeping us off balance. I mean, you can’t win a college baseball game with three hits. It’s just not going to happen. You have to be better than that.”
S. Nazarene… 353 000 1 — 12 14 1
UTPB………….. 034 000 0 — 7 7 2
Joe Toilolo, Hugo Kinebuchi (3), Austin Cooper (7) and Jake Vernon. Matt Symczak, Andrew Donovan (2) and Cooper Coe, Keith Richards III (7). W — Kinebuchi (1-0). L — Symczak (0-1). 2B — SNU: Austin Cooper, Jake Vernon. UTPB: Dalton Drury, Cooper Coe, Lance Wasson.
S. Nazarene… 110 010 0 — 3 4 0
UTPB………….. 001 010 0 — 2 3 3
David Gustafson amd Jake Vernon. Quinton Rockwell, Alex Rivera (3) and Keith Richards III. W — Gustafson (1-1). L — Rockwell (0-1). 2B — SNU: Garrett Perez. 3B — UTPB: Dalton Drury, Lance Wasson.
Records — Southern Nazarene 4-3, UTPB 1-6.