After weather dashed their hopes of games earlier in the week, the Rolla baseball team was finally able to play some games on their home diamond when they hosted St. Clair and New Haven for the Four Rivers Classic on Thursday, March 22. Rolla mashed their way to two blow out wins, beating St. Clair 7-1, before mercy ruling New Haven 19-1.
Rolla got out to a good start against St. Clair, scoring three runs in the second inning, before adding two more in the third. St. Clair was able to get on the board with a run in the fourth, but could never claw back into the game. Rolla added two more runs in the sixth to put a cherry on top of a 7-1 win.
Excellent pitching was key for Rolla all night long on Thursday and that started with their first game against St. Clair. Zeke Arthur turned in an stellar performance on the mound. The senior pitched six innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits with six strike outs to earn the win for the Bulldogs. Levi Loughridge came in to finish things off, pitching a hitless seventh with two strikeouts.
"Zeke did a great job of keeping a rhythm on the mound and not walking anyone, which kept our defense sharp," said head coach Marty Hauck of his senior's performance on the rubber.
Offensively, Rolla racked up nine hits, three of which came from Tristan O'Neal. One of those three hits was a double and he also walked to reach base on all four of his plate appearances. Blayne Yarger added a pair of doubles and a run scored. Davie Pound scored twice for Rolla on a double and a walk. Loughridge had the only RBI for Rolla and went 1-3 at the plate. Blaize Klossner, Brett Gonzalez and Noah Doyle each added runs for Rolla.
The Bulldog offense was solid in the first game, but they exploded against New Haven. Rolla scored a staggering 13 runs in the first inning. They would go on to add six more to that total before New Haven was able to get on the board. Rolla's 19-1 lead through five innings was enough for a mercy rule win.
Rolla got a great performance from Pound on the mound. The senior pitched five innings and allowing one run on three hits and a walk, while striking out nine.
Offensively, the Bulldogs racked up 17 base hits with six players recording two ore more base knocks. Loughridge was one of the top offensive producers with a 4-5 performance at the plate, driving in three runs and scoring once. Pound helped himself out at the plate to the tune of three hits, four RBI and a run scored. O'Neal followed a great first game with three more hits, three RBI, two walks and a run scored. He reached base on every plate appearance he had in the doubleheader. Arthur added two doubles, two RBI and three runs scored. Yarger scored a team-high four runs, while Collin Woods and Jeremiah Ruth each scored twice.
"We got out to a large lead in the first inning before we took the field defensively," said coach Hauck. "It was good to see the team be able to still play good defense behind a solid outing on the mound for Davie."
Coach Hauck's biggest takeaway from the two games is simply the fact that they were able to get some much needed games in around the bad weather.
"Another good couple of wins. We're just glad to be playing, especially before a big tournament in St. Louis this week," said the Rolla head coach. "Overall, it was nice to get a lot of at bats off of live pitching, as we haven't been able to practice outside much with the rain. Tristan O'Neal, Blayne Yarger and Levi Loughridge had great days at the plate for us.
Rolla will wrap up action in the Four Rivers Classic on Saturday. They'll play St. James bright and early and the winner will play the winner of Pacific and Owensville for the championship in the afternoon. Those games are all pending Mother Nature being on their side.