Thu, Mar. 20, 2008 - [Baseball]
Oskaloosa--The Statesmen baseball team could not have scripted a better start to its Midwest Collegiate Conference season as it swept defending league champions and #13 nationally-ranked St. Ambrose 3-1 and 9-3 Thursday.
The Statesmen (7-5, 2-0 MCC) were led in the opener by Joey Grant (Jr., Soquel, Calif., College of San Mateo), who threw a terrific contest to improve to 2-0 on the year.
Grant went the complete game, allowing just one run (earned) on three hits. The junior also struck out six against one walk.
Penn supplied just enough offensive support for their southpaw pitcher.
The Statesmen took the first lead of the day in the second inning and held on for victory. Cody Himes (Sr., Bishop, Calif., West Hills CC) opened the frame with a single up the middle and later scored on a ground-rule double by Alex Chavez (Jr., Culver City, Calif., LA Harbor CC).
The hosts tacked on another run in the third frame when Himes drew a bases-loaded walk to score Steven Schultze (Jr., Simi Valley, Calif., LA Mission CC).
One final run was added when Carl Sievert (Sr., Duluth, Minn., Itasca CC) cleared the right-field fence.
Chavez and Sievert both had two hits to pace Penn.
St. Ambrose scored on a home run in the seventh but it was too little, too late.
The nightcap turned out to be much more offensive-oriented as the two squads combined for 24 hits, including 14 by the Statesmen.
Penn took the early advantage on a solo home run by Chavez to lead off the bottom of the first inning. The Fighting Bees answered with a run in the top of the second before Zack Miller (Sr., Las Vegas, Nev., Victor Valley CC) put his team back ahead with a leadoff solo homer in the bottom half of the frame.
St. Ambrose answered to tie it back up at 2-2, but then the Statesmen exploded, scoring four runs in the third frame. Ramon Cabral (Sr., Antioch, Calif., Laney CC) homered to deep center field to start the inning and Chavez added a two-RBI single later to give Penn a 6-2 lead after three innings.
Cabral cleared the fence to open the fourth frame as well to make it four consecutive innings that Penn began with a home run. The host team then coasted to victory.
Cabral was 4-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored, while Chavez was 3-3 with three RBIs and two runs. Miller was 2-4 with three RBIs and two runs, while Schultze also scored twice.
Tim Waters (Jr., Marysville, Wash., Everett CC) claimed his first win in the navy blue and gold. He tossed a complete game, scattering ten hits. The junior allowed three runs (two earned) with two strikeouts.
"Obviously, this was a great way to start the conference season," Statesmen Head Coach Mike Laird said. "We had several big hits and two great pitching performances. Hopefully we can keep it going."
Next: Penn travels to Hannibal, Mo. Friday and Saturday to play a pair of non-conference doubleheaders. Action begins at 10 a.m. both days.