By Zach Snider
The MVNU baseball team has started off its season on an even keel with a record of 3-3. Although the Cougars have had five games cancelled because of rain, they have managed to play several.
After splitting a doubleheader with Shawnee State on March 1, the Cougars shut out Huntington (Ind.) University 4-0 and 9-0 in consecutive games on March 8.
Two dominating performances on the mound, first by junior Kyle Barr and second by junior Jerrob Decker, led to relatively easy wins for the Cougars.
Barr went the distance in game one, pitching a complete game shutout, the fourth of his career. Barr allowed the visiting Foresters only three hits, and retired 10 of their batters by way of strikeout, just one shy of his career high.
Decker, perhaps not wanting to be outdone by his counterpart, took a perfect game into the final inning of game two. However, his bid for history was not to be, as pinch hitter Blake Ayers placed a grounder perfectly between the shortstop and third baseman. That was the only hit Decker allowed. He finished the game with a one-hit shutout. He struck out seven of the Foresters and walked only one. It was the first complete game and first shutout of his career.
Head coach Keith Veale was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We had two outstanding performances from Kyle and Jerrob,” Veale said in the postgame interview with sports information director Dave Parsons.
“They were in control and pounded the strike zone. I also thought that our offense did a nice job of executing situations.”
On March 12, the Cougars lost two games in heartbreaking fashion to Saint Xavier (Ill.). The Cougars dropped both games in the last inning by scores of 4-5.
After having a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning of game one, a two-out, two-run double tied the score. The score remained tied and went into extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth inning, after holding the Cougars to no runs in the previous half inning,
Saint Xavier Chris Klein ended the game with a two-out walk-off home run.
In game two, the Cougars took a 4-2 lead into the top of the seventh inning. Saint Xavier scored three runs on four singles and a double in its last at-bat to take the lead.
Saint Xavier managed to hold the lead despite a valiant effort from the Cougars in the bottom of the seventh. The Cougars loaded the bases with just one out, but the next two batters struck out, ending the rally.
The Cougars were scheduled to play 13 games during their spring break trip to Florida.
Game results and a summary of the trip can be found on the Lakeholm Viewer’s website, lakeholmviewer.net.
The Cougar’s next games are April 2 at home against Walsh University. The first game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.