TUCSON, Ariz. – Marian University baseball (2-0, 0-0 NACC) swept Bethany Lutheran to open the 2019 season by scores of 3-0 and 18-3.
The opener of the series was a pitching duel but the Sabres were able to break through during key moments to earn a season-opening win for only the second time since 2015. Junior Jake Arens and sophomore Ricky Lee were able to start the bottom of the second inning strong with back-to-back singles. A sacrifice bunt from sophomore Nick Dugandzic then gave senior Travis Slywka an opportunity to bring in Arens and open the scoring for the game.
Arens and Lee once again started some momentum in the fourth inning with an error and a hit by pitch after the first out was recorded. Dugandzic then drove in both Sabres with a double to the right-center field gap to give Marian a 3-0 advantage.
From there, the Marian pitching staff was able to hold off the Vikings and preserve the shutout, which was the first spring trip shutout since 2003. Senior Ty Peccioli (1-0) was lights out only allowing five hits and striking out 11 Vikings over 6.0 innings. Sophomore Logan Bosquez was able to come in for the seventh inning and pitch a perfect frame to earn the save.
The second game started tight through three innings but the Sabres were able to break it open late with three runs in the fourth and eight runs in the fifth. Arens doubled in sophomore Sean Meyer to open the scoring in the second inning before the lead was padded by a balk and bases-loaded walk from Lee in the third to put Marian ahead 3-0. Bethany Lutheran plated their first run of the doubleheader in the bottom half of the third before Marian once again added to their lead in the fourth.
A sacrifice fly from senior Jake Falish opened the scoring for the frame, which was followed by an RBI single from sophomore Jonah Landowski. Meyer then hit a sacrifice fly later in the inning to bring in Landowski and bring the score to 6-1 after four innings. A key error an inning later would allow Marian to break the game open. Landowski and Lee would each have sacrifice flies in the inning along with RBI singles from Meyer and senior Cole Clark, but the big moment of the inning was a three-run home run for senior Travis Slywka to left field, his second career home run.
The pitching staff once again performed well with another 15 punch outs led by sophomore Garrett Martin (1-0) who struck out 12 over 5.0 innings only allowing five hits. Senior Connor Nelson and junior Josh Ditter each provided an inning of scoreless relief to preserve the victory.
The Sabres had four student-athletes with multi-hit games led by Meyer who finished 4-4 with two runs scored and four runs driven in. Senior Matt Nordlund and Slywka each had three hits with Slywka scoring four times. Falish would also score three times in the victory while drawing just as many free passes.
Marian takes on another UMAC opponent in UW-Superior for another doubleheader tomorrow, Saturday, March 16 with game one at 4 p.m. (CDT).