By: CASEY McDONALD
After their original home opener that was cancelled by the opposing school due to cold weather, the IU South Bend Titans was ready for their first doubleheader in front of their home crowd.
Head coach Mike Huling and the Titans entered their first game back from their spring break trip to Florida with a record of 7-10 on the season, and hoped to change that in the conference opener against Trinity International. Senior Trey Bickel started the first game.
The first inning went 1-2-3 for both teams. Bickel was pitching perfect baseball through four innings.
IUSB got on the board first in the bottom of the fourth inning with an RBI double by Chris Mangus. A fielding error on a single by Sammy Nieves allowed Mangus to score to give the Titans a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth, Bickel’s perfect game was blown out of the park when Trinity International’s Michael Balistreri hit a home run over the left field wall. That was the only run the Titans would give up.
Tanner Wesp would score for IUSB in the bottom of the fifth after Trinity International’s catcher Joel Stephenson committed a throwing error on Spencer McCool’s base-stealing attempt.
Matt Miller hit a pinch-hit RBI double to right field, sending Nieves in for the final run of the night.
The Titans won the first game with a score of 4-1, going 1-0 in the conference so far.
The second game started with junior right handed pitcher Ben Wicklund on the mound
It wasn’t until the bottom of the third inning that the game started to look up for the Titans.
A double steal by McCool and Kevin Phelps allowed McCool to steal home for the Titans’ first run. Sammy Nieves added a three-run home run to give IUSB a 4-0 lead going into the fourth inning.
The top of the fourth was rough for Wicklund after walking the first two batters and hitting the third batter, loading the bases. After giving up two runs, Wicklund was relieved by left hander Zane Gonzalez, who closed out game one. Trinity International would score two more runs to tie the game 4-4. Wicklund was charged with all four runs in the inning.
The Titan offense would blow the game wide open in the bottom of the fourth inning. McCool would single to left-center field to score Matt Miller, giving IUSB at 5-4 lead. After a double by Phelps would force a Trojan pitching change and Mangus was intentionally walked to load the bases, a walk by Nieves would score a run to make it 6-4.
Nick Kellums was the third consecutive batter to be walked, sending Phelps in to make the score 7-4 for the Titans. Brandon Papp would add a two-RBI single before Damon DeJesus would hit an RBI double in his second plate appearance of the inning, making the score 10-4, Titans.IUSB would add runs by Miller, Papp, and McCool before the end of the fourth inning to make the score 13-4 in favor of IUSB.
After Gonzalez held Trinity International scoreless in the top of the fifth, the Titan offense added more runs to their side of the scoreboard. Nieves would score on an RBI single by Papp. Zack Lazenby scored on a passed ball. McCool would cap the scoring with a three-run home run.
IUSB won the second game 18-4. Gonzalez would get the win for the game after pitching the middle three innings, allowing no runs and only two hits. The Titans are now 9-10 overall, with a 2-0 record in the CCAC.