Baseball finishes 2-1 at SAU Invitational

Frankie Estanol

The Washburn baseball team (4-3) traveled to Magnolia, Arkansas, this past weekend playing three games in two days.

The Bods fell to Oklahoma Christian, 7-3, in their opening game of the SAU Invitational on Saturday.

On Sunday, the Ichabods seemed to turn things around, knocking off Central Oklahoma, 16-5, in the first game before defeating host No. 14 Southern Arkansas, 13-5, in the second game, which was the second victory over the Muleriders this season.

It seemed like a weekend of Jekyll and Hyde as Washburn struggled at the plate in the first game, striking out 13 times as a team while leaving five runners on base and two in scoring position.

The Ichabods had six hits, including doubles from Parker Gibson, Kyle Carnahan and Riley Krane. It was just a matter of a couple big innings for OCU and being cold with the bats that seemed to kill any rallies going for Washburn. Mike Hefferan (1-1) took the loss, throwing 4.0 innings with four runs allowed and four strikeouts.

For head coach Harley Douglas it was a day of not being mentally ready. “I felt like we just played uninspired baseball,” said Douglas. He felt like the team hurt themselves too much at the plate.

“We just didnt stick to the approach that this team’s built on,” Krane said of Washburn’s struggle to make contact and get runners on base. “We just tried to do too much.”

However, offense did not seem to be a problem on Sunday. The Ichabods came out and responded well, exploding for 29 runs in two games–more than the last five games combined.

Offensively, the Ichabods racked up 24 hits and 24 RBI over the two non-conference games compared to 6 on Saturday. In addition to the hits, Washburn also had seven batters hit by pitches and 12 walks as a team. “We just started putting innings together and we were more relaxed,” says Krane on how the Ichabods managed to hit the ball better on Sunday. On the mound, Washburn combined for 17 strikeouts and 11 walks.

It was all about better approaches in the batter’s box as well as the pitching staff being able to have a better control of the game against Central Oklahoma and SAU, limiting them to five runs a piece. Coach Douglas did mention how he needs the starting pitchers to be able to go deeper in the game.

Krane (2 for 4) had two walks and four RBI to lead the Ichabod offense against Central Oklahoma alongside Carnahan, who went 2 for 4 with a home run.

Against SAU, Gibson went 5 for 6 for Washburn’s second five-hit performance in the early season, while Tanner Triggs, Casey Clark and Carnahan each had two hits and two RBI. Carnahan also moved himself into the top 15 on the career RBI list with 106.

Krane went 1 for 4 on the day with a walk. His lone hit was a three-run home run.

“They started holding each other accountable,” Douglas said regarding how the team felt after the loss Saturday.

Coach Douglas hopes the momentum will continue into the home opener at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23 against Norman University.