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Lapses in defense plague SEU, split series against Rogers State

Senior+centerfielder+William+Hairston
Senior centerfielder William Hairston

Senior centerfielder William Hairston

Senior centerfielder William Hairston

Brandon Paz

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Unusually chilly temperatures made their way into Austin as St. Edward’s (17-16, 5-7 Heartland Conference) split the four-game series against Rogers State (19-15, 5-7 HC) at Lucian-Hamilton Field over the weekend.

Both doubleheaders ended with similar results, with SEU taking the first games, while Rogers State took the final game on both days.

Friday started strong for SEU, with a complete effort on both offense and defense. Rogers State broke a 0-0 tie at the top of the 5th inning with an RBI double by Hillcat catcher Garrett Hall. Despite Hall advancing to third on a wild pitch from senior pitcher Juan Cortina, he would prevent any more bleeding by striking out infielder Matt Seubert to round out the inning.

SEU responded in the bottom of the 5th with a tying run batted in by senior center fielder William Hairston, bringing the game to a 1-1 tie heading into the sixth inning. Rogers State would fail to score again, while SEU secured the win with a three-run inning. Freshman pitcher/designated hitter Blake Holub notched his first collegiate homerun to make it 2-1, with redshirt sophomore first baseman Zach Schindler logging a two-run homer to pad and secure the 4-1 victory for SEU.

Game two didn’t play out favorably for SEU, thanks in large part to a mistake-ridden seventh inning in which Rogers State would explode for seven runs. At that point, a 10-2 Rogers State lead would be too much for SEU to come back from, losing 10-6. SEU’s offense managed 13 hits, however their defense couldn’t match the production, allowing the 10 runs on nine hits with four errors in between.

Quick, heavy thunderstorms swept the Austin area just past midnight on Friday leading into Saturday, resulting in Saturday’s doubleheader to be played in slightly windy, 40-degree weather.

The weather initially seemed to have little-to-no effect on SEU. Junior pitcher Tanner Lawson pitched his sixth complete game — second shutout — en route to his sixth win. He finished the sharp outing with seven strikeouts and two walks while allowing only four hits in seven innings. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed, earning his second career Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Week award.

Offensively, SEU answered to Lawon’s strong pitching with eight hits and four runs. RBI’s by senior left fielder TJ Giselbach, redshirt sophomore right fielder Dylan Mackin and senior shortstop Derek Ramos helped put SEU over Rogers State 4-0 in game one.

The fourth and final game seemed to be playing in SEU’s favor with a 2-1 lead through six innings. However, just like game two in Friday’s action panned out, the seventh inning saw lapses in defense haunt SEU with two errors helping Rogers State take a 4-2 lead. Rogers State padded on to their lead in the ninth inning and SEU would fail to score any more runs, resulting in a 6-2 win for the visitors and a 2-2 series split.

Although SEU finished the weekend at .500, head coach Rob Penders was hard-pressed to find many positives from the results.

“Blake Holub has been doing very well. Will’s had some good at-bats… We have guys doing it, but we just need to be more consistent — and that’s the hardest thing.”

With four more matchups left on the schedule, all with two doubleheaders, SEU will look to right their wrongs and come away with a series sweep in their matchup against St. Mary’s in San Antonio this upcoming weekend.

St. Mary’s (24-10, 8-4 HC) currently sits in second place, only one game behind UAFS for the conference lead. Meanwhile, SEU  is neck-and-neck with Rogers State, one game out of fourth place.

“It just takes one weekend. I mean you just [have to] play with confidence one weekend. We’ve got to get a doubleheader sweep. …” Coach Penders says. “We just have to do that, hopefully next weekend, and then we’ll just roll from there.”

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Lapses in defense plague SEU, split series against Rogers State