The Tigers opened the new season in impressive fashion by defeating Marian University, 9-1, 2-1 and 4-1 in the opening weekend series. The Tigers pitching staff was impressive all weekend only allowing one earned run while striking out 26.
Game one: Tigers 9, Marian 1
The Tigers started the year with a bang at the plate by scoring five runs in the first inning and sending nine batters to the plate. Wes Sutton led the game off with a hit by pitch and scored on a double by Hogan Townsend. Tyler Hisey singled to put runners on the corners and Collin Wheeler was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Garrett Dalton making his Tiger debut was also hit by a pitch and recorded an RBI. A sacrifice fly by Jay Brown drove in the games fourth run and Nic Bain drove in the fifth run to put the Tigers in a commanding lead.
The Tigers added runs in the second, fourth, and two runs in the fifth to extend the lead.
Bryson Morgan got the game one start on the mound and didn’t disappoint. Morgan went six strong innings while striking out seven and only allowing one run (unearned). Logan Mathewson was called on to pitch the seventh and recorded two strikeouts. Morgan’s performance earned him the NCCAA National Pitcher of the Week.
Game two: Tigers 2, Marian 1
A pitcher’s duel in game two as both pitching staffs pounded the strike zone and the defenses played great fundamental baseball. Riley Turpeinen made his Tigers debut with the start in game two and went three shutout innings allowing one hit.
The Tigers got on the scoreboard first in the fourth inning with a two-out RBI single by Hisey that plated Townsend.
The Tigers bullpen was called on in the fourth inning as Walker Waters threw two innings while striking out two. The Marian offense plated a run in the fifth inning to tie the game. A double play by the Tigers wiped out the treat and left the game tied at 1-1. The Tigers plated the winning run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double by Collin Wheeler.
The Tigers called on Cameron Ganci in the sixth and struck out two batters before turning the seventh over to Ryan Keefe. Keefe faced just three batters and recorded his first save of the season. Ganci recorded his first win as a Tiger.
Tigers 4, Marian 1
The Tigers got on the board in the bottom of the second as Dalton doubled and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Jay Brown. The Tigers plated another run in the sixth when Dalton singled to drive in CJ Huff. After a run in the top of the eighth by Marian cut the lead to 2-1, the Tigers plated two runs to extend the lead on a solo home run by Sutton and RBI sacrifice fly by Wheeler.
For the third game in a row, the pitching staff was outstanding and kept the Marian hitters off balance. Sam McMillen started and went five shutout innings. Ganci made his second appearance of the series going almost three innings while striking out three. Keefe came on to record his second save as he threw the final one and a third innings with two strikeouts.
“Our team came out focused and ready to play this weekend! We played well in all aspects of the game. Our pitching staff was outstanding, and we played very good defense with a couple of great throws from our outfielders and we turned a key double play to stop a threat in a tight ball game. Our guys had a lot of fun and played loose and it showed,” said coach Shane Gardner.