Photo by Jeff Barrett
By Jose Briseno
A close game one followed by a quick game two saw the Utah State Eastern baseball team fall in both games of their season opening doubleheader. A 12-9 loss, after an 11-inning battle with Arizona Western College, was followed by a 16-0 defeat for the Eagles.
Tyler Fitch tossed four scoreless innings as part of a five-inning outing. Fitch ended his outing in the bottom of the fifth after allowing just one run on one hit. Fitch fanned three Arizona Western batters before Micah Del Rio took his place in the top of the sixth.
Ethan Hixson gave Eastern an early 1-0 lead with an RBI groundout to score Vaughn Deming from third. Del Rio held Arizona Western scoreless through the eighth inning, but Eastern’s offense was held at bay as well.
The Matadors scored three runs in the top of the eighth to take a 4-1 lead over the Eagles before a trio of drove in three runs to tie the game at four apiece. Ty Barker hit an RBI-double to center field, scoring Gavin Douglas from second. Vaughn Deming doubled to right field on the next pitch to score another Eastern run. Davis Kirby scored Deming on a single through the right side to make the score 4-4 heading into the last inning.
Both teams went scoreless in the ninth to send the game into extra innings. Arizona Western scored three runs in the top of the 10th inning to take a 7-4 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, down to their last strike, Davis Kirby homered to left field to score three runs and tie the game, 7-7. Eastern had a chance to win the game with two runners on base, but a strikeout sent the game into the 11th inning.
Arizona Western scored five runs in the top half, and Eastern’s comeback came up just short as the score ended 12-9 in favor of the Matadors.
Game two went Arizona Western’s way in a 16-0 loss for USU Eastern. Mack Bright and Dakari Armendariz recorded the lone hits in the game for Eastern as just three Eagles reached base in the contest.
Aiden Taylor, Tyler Harris and Rylan Marti all saw time on the mound for the Eagles as the Matadors recorded 16 runs on 15 hits.
”The games didn’t go our way,” said head coach Kirk Haney. “We fought hard in the first one and almost got it, but we can’t dwell on today’s game. We have two more left this weekend, so we have to put these ones behind us.”