Sabres rally late to split opening day

Sabres rally late to split opening day

TUCSON, Ariz. - After a rough first game, the Marian baseball team (1-1, 0-0 NACC) scored five unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh in game two to earn a split with Simpson.

"Not a great day for us today, but we were fortunate enough to get a split," said head coach Jason Bartelt following the game.  "I don't know if we were sluggish from the travel or how much nerves played a factor but we just didn't have the energy and intenisty we will need in the future."

The Sabre pitching staff had a tough time in the opener as Marian dropped the first game to Simpson 18-7.  Adam Ryan had a solid game at the dish going 2-3 with two runs and three runs batted in and a walk.  Ryan also had a solo homer that cleared the right field fence in the sixth inning.

MU struggled offensively in game two of the doubleheader before a late rally gave the Sabres an 8-7 win to earn a split.  The Storm opened the game with three runs and a pair in the third to take an early 5-0 lead.  The Sabres cut into the deficit in the bottom of the fourth when Tommy Dugandzic doubled to right center for an RBI and Schuyler Rath followed that up with a single to put Marian behind 5-2. 

Tony Grannis opened the bottom of the fifth with a leadoff triple to left center before Mitchel Buss brought him without a ground out to third.  Simpson answered, however, extending their lead out to 7-3 in the next half inning before a seventh inning rally saw Marian plate five runs.  Ryan started the rally with a run batted in before Hunter Berry ripped a double down the left field line with the bases loaded to clear the bases to knot the game at 7-7 with two outs.  Cody Schaefer then stepped in and snuck a ground ball up the middle to score Berry to earn the walk off win.

Hunter Veness started and went 4.0 innings before Justin Stender came in for 2.0 innings.  Jordan Bock closed out the game with a clean inning in earning his first career victory.

"Both of those guys came out and challenged hitters," said Bartelt on the performance of his young pitchers.  "That has to be a big key for us moving forward challenging hitters and forcing them to put a bat on the ball."

Ryan had another productive game at the plate going 3-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.  Berry went 2-3 in his first career game as a Sabre with a walk, three runs batted in and the game winning run.  Schaefer also had a productive day out of the nine-hole for Marian going 4-7 with a double and two runs batted in at the bottom of the MU lineup.

Marian returns to action for a pair of nine inning games opening with Whitman at noon (CS) and followed up with Hamline for a 3:30 p.m. first pitch.