Baseball Rallies Fall Short In Final Day Of Competition
EDINBURG, Texas - The Northern Colorado baseball team made things exciting in both games on the final day of the Division I Independent Championship, rallying in the ninth inning in both contests, but lost both to finish second with a 2-2 record. The Bears dropped game one 9-6 to Houston Baptist and fell 7-4 to host Texas-Pan American in the nightcap.
The Bears end the 2009 season with an 18-35 mark, while the Broncs end 14-41 and the Huskies finish 11-40.
"This was a disappointing way to end our season," said Head Coach Kevin Smallcomb. "We left too many men on base in both games and didn't capitalize when we had the chances to. I thought the team fought hard and never gave up though, rallying in both games. I want to congratulate the seniors for their efforts and wish them the best of luck in whatever comes their way."
Northern Colorado has six seniors on the squad in Erik Hegstad, Trey Keene, Andy Mees, Kevin Sandberg, Phil Santucci and Brian Sizemore.
Houston Baptist scored its nine runs on 14 hits with two errors, while Northern Colorado tallied six runs on 10 hits and also had two errors. Both teams turned two double plays in the contest as well.
Bears starter Cameron Tallman threw 6.2 innings, allowing seven runs on 10 hits, walking six and striking out one while freshman Ty Jacobs pitched the last 2.1 frames, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits, walking three and striking out one.
Junior catcher Seth Budde went 3-for-4 with one RBI, while Mees was 3-for-5 with a run scored.
HBU scored two runs on three hits in the second frame and added five runs on five hits in the third inning to take the early 7-0 advantage.
There was no scoring until the top of the eighth, when the Huskies added their eighth and tacked on another in the top of the ninth.
The Bears, who had just five hits in the first eight innings, rallied with five hits and scored six runs. Santucci and freshman Adrian Schenk, who were both pinch hitting, both were plunked by pitches and scored when freshman Jarod Berggren singled to left field and the fielder misplayed the ball moving Berggren to third. Junior Patrick Roche pinch hit and singled to shortstop, scoring Berggren. Mees singled and Sandberg followed with a single to right field, scoring both runs as the Huskies committed another error. The sixth run came on a single down the left field line by Budde but the rally fell just short.
The Bears and Broncs met for the sixth time in the last eight games for both clubs. UTPA starting pitcher Scott Wingo threw 179 pitches in the game, leaving with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, allowing all four of the Bears runs and picking up his fourth win of the season.
Freshman left-hander Nate Steinmetz (2-5) threw 4.1 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits. He walked just one and fanned two and left due to some discomfort in his left leg. Sandberg threw the final 4.2 innings, allowing just one run on two hits, walking one and striking out three.
NC scored four runs on seven hits and committed one error in the game, while UTPA scored seven runs on nine hits and had two errors.
Berggren went 2-for-3 in the game and walked twice, while Mees went 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI.
Northern Colorado struck first, scoring two runs in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Mees doubled down the right field line. Sandberg reached on an error and then Hegstad, Budde and Coy all drew walks.
UTPA answered with three runs in the top of the fourth and added three more in the fifth for the 6-2 lead. In the seventh, the Broncs plated one more for a 7-2 score.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth Adrian Schenk doubled, Mees and Sandberg both singled and Hegstad doubled to again make things interesting, but the final score ended 7-4.
UTPA won the tournament with a 3-1 record, while the Bears finished second at 2-2 and Houston Baptist went 1-3 to place third. All three teams will be back in Edinburg at the end of next season to compete in the first-ever Great West Conference Tournament.