Photo by Jeff Barrett
By Jose Briseno
Both teams were strong on the mound on Friday, but the Eastern Arizona College Gila Monsters were just a little bit stronger at the plate in a victory over Utah State University Eastern.
Braden Gluth led things off on the hill for the Gila Monsters. The pitcher surrendered zero runs on three hits over six innings, striking out six. Ky Decker got the start on the mound for Eastern. He lasted five innings, allowing three hits and zero runs while striking out five and walking one. Troy Connell threw one and one-third innings in relief.
A double by Mack Bright in the third inning was a positive for the Eagles. Bright went 2-for-2 at the plate to lead USU Eastern in hits. Eastern was sure-handed in the field and didn’t commit a single error.
In game two on Friday, USUE took the lead late in the game in a 5-1 victory over the Gila Monsters in the second part of the doubleheader. The game was tied at one with Eastern batting in the top of the fifth when Ty Barker singled on a 1-0 count, scoring two runs.
Micah Del Rio earned the victory on the mound for Eastern. The righthander allowed zero hits and zero runs over three innings, striking out four and walking zero. Dylan Hawkes started the game for USUE. Hawkes lasted four innings, allowing five hits and one run while striking out seven and walking one.
The following day, the Eagles won both games of the doubleheader, 7-6 and 5-2, to take the series 3-1 over the Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters.
USU Eastern opened game one with a two-run first inning. Vaughn Deming hit into a fielder’s choice to score Mack Bright from third. A Kaden Davis ground ball led to an Eastern Arizona error to score Davis Kirby.
USUE scored three more runs in the top of the second after Deming drew a bases-loaded RBI walk. Tyler Nelson singled to left to score Kirby from third while Kaden Davis hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Luke Erickson.
Bright hit a double in the top of the third inning to score Korbet Pope and extend Eastern’s lead to 6-0. Davis Kirby hit a sacrifice fly to score Bright and give USUE a 7-0 lead after three innings.
The Gila Monsters scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to cut USU Eastern’s lead to 7-3. Eastern’s bats struggled in the latter parts of the game and Eastern Arizona scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to close in on the Eagles, 7-6.
Owen Teuscher recorded the final outs of the game to shut the door on the Gila Monsters and earn Eastern the 7-6 win. Aiden Taylor got the start and the win on the mound for Eastern. Taylor allowed two earned runs on four hits and struck out six Gila Monster batters in the process. Owen Teuscher tossed 3.2 innings and allowed three runs (zero earned) with four strikeouts and just one walk.
Game two had a similar start to the first with Eastern scoring two runs in the first inning. Luke Erickson hit a double to score Mack Bright from first. Vaughn Deming singled to advance Erickson to third before Tyler Nelson singled to left, scoring Erickson from third. Eastern Arizona scored in the bottom of the first to cut USUE’s lead to 2-1 after the first.
The Gila Monsters tied the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the third. Eastern finally broke the tie in the top of the fifth after a Nelson two-run triple to right field. Ty Barker walked in the top of the seventh to give the Eagles a three-run, 5-2 lead headed into the bottom of the inning.
Westin Corless closed out Eastern Arizona in three-straight batters to end the game. Corless started the game on the bump for Eastern and earned the complete-game victory. Corless allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out five batters.Vaughn Deming led Eastern with three hits in the game while Tyler Nelson had three RBIs.
Eastern will next take the field against the Utah State University Club Team on Feb. 24-25. The games will be the first home games of the season for Eastern.