The Rolla baseball team (6-1, 1-0 OC) wanted to at least get one game in this week with a ton of rain in the forecast, so they moved up their game against Lebanon to be played bright and early at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 26. The Bulldogs took a few innings to wake up, but their bats eventually came alive and the weather held off just enough for Rolla to hold onto an 8-6 win.
It took both teams a few innings to get settled in on Monday morning, as the game started off with two scoreless frames. Rolla's bats finally woke up in the third thanks to a spark from their leadoff hitter Zeke Arthur. Arthur mashed a triple to the fence in left-center to kick off the inning and gave his team a huge burst of energy, as he and the entire bench exploded in celebration. After a walk from Blayne Yarger, Brett Gonzalez hit a single that scored Arthur. Yarger was also able to come around after an attempt to get him out at third went wild. Gonzalez eventually came around to score on a groundout by Tristan O'Neal. After another out, Davie Pound reached on an error and made it to second base. He went on to score on an RBI single from Levi Loughridge. Loughridge then came around to score on a base knock from Treyton Ruth. That huge inning gave Rolla a 5-0 lead that they wouldn't give up.
Lebanon tried to chip away, scoring a run in the fourth and three more in the top of the sixth, but Rolla came right back with three more runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. Lebanon kept the comeback attempt alive with two more runs in the seventh, but Arthur came in and shut the door to get the save and clinch Rolla's 8-6 win.
Jeremiah Ruth started the game for the Bulldogs, going 6.2 innings. He allowed six runs, only three of which were earned, on 10 hits, while striking out four. Arthur pitched one third of an inning to earn the save.
Arthur also led the offensive charge for the Bulldogs, driving in two runs on two hits, one of which was the offense-sparking lead-off triple in the third. Gonzalez, O'Neal, T. Ruth, Yarger and Loughridge all drive in runs and scored a run for Rolla. Pound also scored twice and Jonthan Reese scored once while pinch running.
The JV game got started, but the rain finally came in and was rained out in the middle of the fourth. Rolla was winning 3-2 at the time.
"The guys did a great job of getting run support on top of effective pitching again," said head coach Marty Hauck after the game. "Jeremiah did a great job of keeping the ball down and we made some great plays behind him. Noah Doyle made some huge plays at third in key moments."
Coach Hauck gives Arthur credit in helping jump start the Bulldogs after a slow start.
"Zeke Arthur got our bats woke up and had a good day at the plate again in a lead-off role," said the Rolla head coach.
Rolla was scheduled to play in the Midwest Classic this week starting on Tuesday, but was pushed back to Wednesday starting at 2 p.m.. Rolla will face off against Francis Howell and CBC at Francis Howell. The Bulldogs are also slated to play in that tournament in Friday and Saturday. Both of those days will be bracket play.