While some Truman State students were shaking off the last bit of sand from spring break, the baseball team was shaking off the dirt after rival McKendree University rolled into town last weekend.
The Bulldogs came into the weekend off a sweep against the University of Southern Indiana March 14-16. This Saturday, however, Truman was swept during the first doubleheader against McKendree.
“Coming into the weekend, we knew that we could not take McKendree lightly, and I think they proved that by taking two from us on Saturday,” freshman outfielder Adam Gregorich says. “As a team we really didn’t play well on Saturday, and we felt like they came into the series ready to play and we didn’t.”
Senior outfielder Jarod Hahn put up a pair of home runs for the Bulldogs, but a late ninth inning homer from McKendree gave the Bearcats the edge to win the game, 11-8.
The second game Saturday was less of a home run contest as the ‘Dogs fell 3-1. As Saturday ended, Hahn says the Bulldogs had to gear up for another two games against the Bearcats Sunday. Hahn says the team was discouraged about their performance Saturday, but looked forward to making up for the loss Sunday.
“We got knocked down a notch by losing the first two games,” Hahn says. “But this made us work even harder to make sure that doesn’t happen again. This team is something special and we got back to playing Bulldog baseball.”
The Bulldogs got it together in time to beat the Bearcats in both games Sunday, earning a split for the series. The Bulldogs’ bats were barking as they opened up each game with four runs during the opening inning. Truman marched onward as the team kept tacking on runs. Hahn hit his third homer of the weekend during the first game Sunday to put the ‘Dogs up 7-2 during the fourth inning. Redshirt freshman pitcher Kent Frantz closed the game win as the ‘Dogs beat the Bearcats 7-3.
The Bearcats recorded five errors in the back side of the double header Sunday that added to the Truman victory. Senior first baseman Paul Trenhaile extended a team-best 16-game hitting streak in the win and Gregorich recorded his first Truman home run in the process, according to the official season statistics.
The Bulldogs won 10-6 during the second game Sunday to earn the split in the series against McKendree.
“We really needed those two wins on Sunday to bounce back after Saturday as we are now approaching the toughest part of our schedule,” Trenhaile says. “We’ll be playing much more now on shorter rest so it will be important for us to stay healthy and stay focused during the grind.”
The Bulldogs will head to current GLVC West leader William Jewell College for a two-game weekend March 28-29 in Liberty, Missouri.