Junior powers UHV to doubleheader sweep of Huston-Tillotson
The hit-and-run is one of most difficult tasks to execute in baseball, but Wednesday UHV's Stephen Shorkey executed it to perfection.
"It's always tough because you have to swing no matter what," said the junior left-handed batter. "Luckily, I got a good pitch to hit and drove it."
The Jaguars (15-20) already held the lead over Huston-Tillotson in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Rams had already proven they had the ability to get hits and score runs.
Like Jaguars coach Terry Puhl said, two runs isn't much to overcome at Riverside Stadium.
"They clearly had a lot of hits early in the game and controlled the momentum," Puhl said. "At least we held them to two runs and got some key outs that kept us in the ballgame. In this ballpark, two runs is nothing."
With a runner at first base and a two-run lead, Shorkey sent Jared Van de Hoef's pitch sailing into right field as Corti Wilson took off for second base.
The perfect execution allowed Wilson to score on a wild pitch in the next at-bat after he already stole third base. Shorkey later scored on an RBI single by Dylan Blaha that gave UHV the 7-3 victory.
Shorkey ended the day 3 for 3 at the plate, including the first hit of the game for UHV. Senior Chad Kruse went 2 for 4 with two doubles and three RBI.
"The main thing was we stopped missing pitches," Puhl said between games. "Kruse had a big hit, and the big hit-and-run with Shorkey and Wilson - that was a big turning play. You could just feel the momentum shift to us."
Huston-Tillotson (10-42) outhit the Jaguars nine to eight but left six runners on base. The hitting performance by the Rams was the biggest difference from the last meeting between the two NAIA schools.
"I thought they hit the ball better today," Puhl said. "They were in the ballgame too. Up there, we took them out of the game early. We didn't get a big inning today, but in the middle innings we kept on getting quality chances and came through on a few of them."
The Jaguars struggled at the plate to start the game, going two innings without a hit. Van de Hoef (0-5) pitched the entire game for the Rams, giving up seven hits, four walks and one strikeout.
Andre Del Bosque picked up his first win of the season for UHV after relieving starter Andrew Walker before the fourth inning. Del Bosque (1-0) allowed only one run on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
Walker pitched the first three innings and allowed two runs on six hits and had three strikeouts.
"Andrew was trying to make some adjustments with his pitches, and they were getting hits. They had control of the momentum," Puhl said. "Andre Del Bosque had three quality innings and really shut them down."
Nick Huff came into the game to record the final three outs and secure the victory for the Jaguars.
"It wasn't a save opportunity, but in college baseball - for me - that was a save," Puhl said.
GAME 2UHV 5, HUSTON-TILLOTSON 1
Shorkey continued his hot streak Wednesday in the second game of the doubleheader, going 2 for 3 at the plate with a home run and two RBIs. In all, Shorkey went 5 for 6 with three RBI.
"I've been working on a few things with my swing for the past two weeks," Shorkey said. "I think I finally got all of the kinks worked out. I feel confident, and it's right in time for the playoffs."
Unlike Game 1, the Jaguars never trailed in the second game of the day, scoring at least one run in the last four innings of play. Shorkey's solo home run to right field in the bottom of the sixth inning gave the Jaguars a 5-0 lead. It was his first homer of the season.
"He threw two pitches low and outside, so I knew he'd come back with a fastball over the plate, and I just put a good swing on it," Shorkey said. "I'm glad to finally get one. Better late than never guess."
The Rams broke up the shutout in the top of the seventh, but Cory Hulsey helped secure the win for UHV.
Brayden Blanton (1-1) earned the win for UHV, pitching three innings and not allowing any hits. He also had three strikeouts and two walks. Orlando Quiroga pitched the first three innings for UHV.
Kruse finished Game 2 with another three hits and an RBI, giving him four total RBI in a 5 for 8 performance at the plate Wednesday.