Baseball bounces back

Suffering their first loss out of seven series, Truman State’s baseball team got swept during four games by the Drury University Panthers at home last weekend.
Truman hasn’t won a series since winning three of the four games against the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kirksville. However, a single game against Lincoln University at Bulldog Baseball Park might help the Bulldogs going into a four-game away series this weekend.
During the six games before Lincoln the Bulldogs crossed the plate only nine times, and the highest number of runs they scored during a game has been two.
The ‘Dogs scored 32 runs during the four game series against Missouri University of Science and Technology. Offense was their bread and butter with some of the highest numbers at the dish in all of Div. II.
Tuesday, the ’Dogs took the field for one game against former MIAA foe Lincoln University and came back in a barn-burner. Until the fifth inning, Truman was up 2-0 with a stellar pitching performance from freshman hurler Sam Reuter. But then Lincoln put up a six spot with some costly errors from the ‘Dogs.
That was until the sixth inning when Truman put up big offensive production by loading the bases with no outs and plating three more runners of their own to tie the game at six apiece. With runners on second and third and no one out, Truman couldn’t add to their sixth inning rally.
Help came from junior shortstop Blake Deaton who went 2-5 for the evening, touching home twice. He said his at bats during this game ultimately were to get himself back to that rubber dish as much as possible.
“Find a way to get on base, because any time you’re on base you’re giving your team a better opportunity to score a run,” Deaton said. “Moving up 90 feet is our big goal.”
At that point it was back and forth as the Tigers took the lead again during the seventh at 7-6 with the Bulldogs looking to strike back in their half of the inning, loading the bases once again with no men out. With no outs and runners in scoring position it seemed the Bulldogs might get three outs in a row, but junior third baseman Zak Larkin singled up the middle to put Truman up 8-7 — only needing six more outs.
“The pressure is not on you as a hitter,” Larkin said. “The pressure is on the pitcher. I went into my [at bat] looking for my pitch to hit and I was going to put my best swing on it regardless of the outcome. [The pitcher] has to get me out, so let’s see what happens.”
Ultimately the Bulldogs won, shutting the Blue Tigers down during the top of the ninth and placing their overall record at 13-17.
Senior relief pitcher Chris Allard tossed two innings in the closer role, only allowing one base runner during the final two innings and solidifying the ‘W’ for Truman.
The ‘Dogs look to use their momentum from their win Tuesday heading into the weekend by playing a four-game set against Maryville University, a team also coming off their first series loss in a long while. Allard said this series against the Saints might give the Bulldogs the advantage.
“We had a guy on our team that transferred there, so I think we have the upper hand since a guy left our school,” Allard said. “I think we can go in there, and I know we are pretty even kiel as far as how the teams look on paper, but I think we know that we are a better team and I think we can go in there, not split, and take the series 3-1 or potentially even sweep.”

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