COLUMBUS, Miss. – The Mississippi University for Women's baseball team struggled in its first outing of the 2018 season. Opening their inaugural season on the road, the Owls fell 12-4 to the University of Dallas on Friday, Feb. 9.
Freshman pitcher Drew Williams led the Owls defense on the mound, giving up one earned run in six innings. After Williams was pulled going into the seventh, The W scrambled to find its pitching rhythm. Three pitchers took the mound in the seventh and each struggled for accuracy over the plate. A series of walks and some well-placed Crusader hits resulted in nine runs against The W in one inning.
After the unfortunate luck in the seventh, the Owls were able to find pitching success in the eighth inning. Eiland Cleckler, freshman from Clanton, Ala, enter the game as pitcher and lifted spirits with a good showing. The right-hander, who is listed as an infielder on the roster, recorded two strikeouts, one hit against, and one pop-up to stop the bleeding and put a quick close to the bottom of the eighth.
Finding a new groove after Cleckler's effective pitching, the Owls attempted a comeback, scoring three of their total four runs in the ninth. Sumpter Bass, sophomore from Clarksdale, Miss., entered the game as a pinch hitter to hit a triple for 2 RBIs to close in on the Crusader's lead. Despite the effort, the Owls were unable to overcome the setbacks of the seventh inning, closing its season opener on the wrong side of 12-4.
Sophomore infielder Heath Ford went 2-for-4 with a walk to lead his team at the plate and RJ Cox, Johndavid Birdsong, and Nick Brooks also recorded hits in their first game as members of The W baseball team.
"The guys played good for eight innings," said head coach Matthew Wolfenbarger. "We had one bad inning that allowed the game to get away from us." As he spoke of the positives, Coach Wolfenbarger stated that he did see a lot of bright spots to build from. "I feel we are going to be real competitive once we get the kinks worked out."
The Owls will be back on the field on Saturday, Feb. 10 when they face the Crusaders for game two and three of the four game series. The first pitch of the day is scheduled for 12 p.m. Keep up with the doubleheader action through the University of Dallas live stream: HERE.
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