by Henry Miller | Staff Writer
On Friday, Bucs baseball kicked off their 2019 campaign, defeating the College of Idaho with a final score of 11-0.Senior pitcher Matthew Young had seven shutout innings, with six strikeouts and not a single walk. From the plate, senior Nicholas Nerud went 4-5 with three RBI’s. College of Idaho made six errors which helped the Bucs stretch their lead even more. Senior Tyler Bailey drove in two runs which brought the lead to 10-0 in the seventh.
The second game of the three-game road trip handed the Bucs their only loss of the weekend. The Bucs rallied for two runs in the second after a Bailey single drove a run in, and junior Taylor Poffenroth scored on senior Spencer Locati’s ground out RBI. The pirates had a 5-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth. Heading into the sixth the with the score at 5-1 the Bucs began to struggle. Three of the Coyotes runs would come from Whitworth errors, ending in a 7-6 Whitworth defeat. Sophomore pitcher Austin Rice started for the Bucs and allowed two runs on six hits over five and one third innings. Senior Darren Crosby came in in relief and allowed three runs in one inning.
On Saturday the Bucs Senior Ryan Kingma pitched an impressive six innings only giving up run in the sixth. Senior Mathew Pulliam came in for relief and allowed only one hit and secured the save. Junior Cody Simmons got the scoring started for the Bucs with an RBI single that drove in Nerud. Whitworth cut loose in the ninth to extend the lead to 7-1. Whitworth’s first three runs came at the hands of some Coyote defensive errors. Nerud finished off the inning with a two run RBI single. Nerud was the most effective Pirates batter, going 3-6 with two RBI’s and scoring one run.
Defensively, the Bucs infield is led by Nerud, with Simmons behind the dish. Both players are great at the plate and add a lot to the team on the offensive and defensive end. Poffenroth and Bailey also add big bats to the lineup.
“The most important key to having a strong season is the bond the team shares. The closer the players are to one another the more we have each other’s back and pick each other up,” said Sophomore outfielder Grayson O’Neil. “This is huge in pressure situations and can heatedly determine the outcome of a game.”
The Bucs sent two pitchers to the Major league farm system this year in pitchers Hugh Smith and Joel Condreay. Smith was drafted by the Detroit Tigers, and Condreay by the Colorado Rockies.
“Smith took this last summer to build arm strength and recover from a slight injury but he is a very high prospect for the Detroit Tigers. Condreay is doing good for the Colorado minor league system and has become a much stronger pitcher,” said O’Neil.
The two former players still attend practices to help players develop and to advise their former teammates.
This Friday, the Bucs travel to Georgia for a three game road trip at Oglethorpe University.