The DePauw men’s baseball team bowed out of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship this weekend in Millington, Tenn. after two losses against Trinity (7-4) and Hendrix (8-1).
“The way we played was kind of how we played all year,” said head coach Jake Martin. “We first played a great game and beat a very good team. Then we played an average game and a poor game. Our inconsistency poured over into the tournament.”
In the first game, DePauw jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Trinity responded with four in the third.
The game started at midnight on Saturday, five hours late, after the previous contest between Rhodes and Oglethorpe went 21 innings.
“We didn’t get done until 3:30 [a.m.] our time or get to bed until 4:30 in the morning. I can’t say it didn’t have an impact on how we came out and played the next day.” Martin said. “We came out pretty flat and didn’t get some big hits, but all three teams that played that day had to go through it and someone had to win.”
Sophomore Zach Galyean started the Tigers off with a homer in the first before junior Aaron Henry drove in junior Sam Swafford with a second-inning single giving DePauw a 2-0 lead. Trinity’s Kevin Clements led off the third with a single and moved to second on John Paillet’s sacrifice bunt. Kevin Jackson followed with an RBI single. Kyle Felix then plated Jackson with a sacrifice fly. Nick Pappas made it 4-2 with a two-run shot to left.
Trinity added solo runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings before DePauw scored two in the seventh innings before DePauw scored two in the seventh. In-fielder Alex Wright (junior), freshman Robbie Stein and Swafford hit consecutive singles before Wright scored on a wild pitch and Stein came home on junior Alex Berlyn’s grounder.
The Tigers loaded the bases with two out in the eighth, but the inning ended with a pick off.
“We knew it was going to be tough against Trinity,” said pitcher Elliott Ross, a junior. “They are a great team and we knew it would be close.”
Trinity’s Noah Solomon improved to 5-2 with the win, while Franklin Bay picked up his first save. Ross dropped to 4-5 with the loss.
In the elimination game against Hendrix, after leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, the Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the second when Swafford singled and moved to second on senior Ben Gardner’s single. McPike then delivered a two-out RBI single.
Hendrix reached the scoreboard in the fifth and gave the Warriors a 3-1 lead. Jacob Perschke drove in Nick Richardson with a bases loaded walk in the sixth. Hendrix sealed the victory in the eighth with four unearned runs. DePauw totaled six hits with McPike leading with two. Six different Hendrix players had two hits apiece of the Warriors’ 14.
Martin said that even though the season didn’t turn out how they had hoped, he believes everyone enjoyed themselves.
“They were a fun team to coach,” Martin said. “Hopefully this is a year that causes everyone to re-evaluate and commit to what we are doing.”
Ross has high hopes for the 2012 season, which will be his final year at DePauw.
“If we can string it together and be consistent next year, we’ll be really good,” Ross said.
The Tigers have two seniors who will be playing their last home games on Saturday, Gardner and his teammate Mike Peterson.
“I feel bad for them because I know how much they wanted a shot to play in the post-season,” Martin said. “I know they wanted to leave their mark like we played in 2008. They had a tough year, but I’m very proud of them.”
While the Tigers are out of conference, they return to Walker Field Saturday and host Washington-St. Louis in a 12:30 p.m. doubleheader.