The final two days of the Midwest Classic didn't exactly go as planned over the weekend, as weather washed away most of the games on Friday and Saturday, March 30-31. Rolla (5-1-1) was able to play one more game in the tournament when they faced off against Vianney on Friday, but the rest of their games from the weekend were cancelled. Rolla fell in the game 9-4, bringing their record in the tournament to 1-1-1.
Vianney got started early with a pair of runs in the second inning, but Rolla fought back in the third thanks to the bat of Tristen O'Neal. The Bulldog's big first baseman launched a three-run shot off Vianney's Noah Niznik in the inning, giving Rolla a 3-2 lead. Unfortunately, Vianney came right back to take the lead and the Bulldog bats couldn't find another answer.
The Griffins picked up the pace in the next three innings, scoring four runs in the fourth, one run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to put the game out of reach. Rolla scored one more run in the seventh, but couldn't complete the comeback in a 9-4 loss.
Jonathan Reese took the loss for the Bulldogs, giving up seven runs, six of which were earned, on seven hits and four walks. He struckout two batters in five innings of work. Will Bolyard came in to pitch the sixth, allowing two unearned runs on no hits and a walk. He struck out one batter in his inning of work.
Offensively, Rolla had eight base hits in the game. O'Neal led the offensive charge with his three-run home run, but Davie Pound and Brett Gonzalez each added a pair of hits. Gonzalez scored one of Rolla's four runs. Blayne Yarger and Zeke Arthur each scored a run and had a base hit in the loss.
"Vianney was preseason ranked number one in the State and we were winning in the middle of the game," said head coach Marty Hauck about the loss to Vianney. "It was good for us to see that level of competition early this season and see what we need to correct before postseason starts."
The talent level of the competition was coach Hauck's biggest take away from the tournament overall.
"It was a great tournament for us to be in," said Hauck. "We got to see several ranked schools, which is what we need to be doing this time of year."
While the remaining games of the tournament were rained out, Rolla will hopefully get the chance to play some of those games. The bracket of the tournament was abandoned with the rain, but the Bulldogs are working with some of the schools they did not get a chance to play to find some dates they can reschedule games. None of those dates have been determined at this point.
After spending the week playing in St. Louis, the Bulldogs will return to some familiar territory this week with a pair of Ozark Conference games. Rolla will travel to Kickapoo on Tuesday, April 3, before hosting West Plains on Thursday.
Freshman baseball update from coach Brian Owens:
Rolla Freshmen win both games against West Plains March 22, 2018
West Plains scored four runs in the fifth inning, but Rolla still won 8-5 on Thursday in the first of two games. The big inning for West Plains came thanks to two walks, a triple and a Bulldog error.
Rolla got things started in the first inning when Dakota Chambers's sac fly scored Landon Hirtz.
In the bottom of the first inning, West Plains tied things up but the Bulldogs pulled away for good with two runs in the second inning Luke Seest singled on a 3-1 count, scoring Logan Oden and Connor Joyce.
Ethan Stephenson was on the mound for Rolla. He lasted three and two-thirds innings, allowing two hits and five runs while striking out five.
Rolla Bulldogs Freshman scattered nine hits in the game. Stephenson, Joyce, and Hirtz each collected two hits.
In game two of the evening Hunter Hoss threw a shutout to lead Rolla past West Plains 12-0.
Rolla scored nine runs in the fourth inning. The big bats in the inning were led by Heston Parsons, who had a double and a triple in the inning. Seest, and Hirtz,each had a double, a walk by Oden, and a sac fly by Stephenson.
Hoss was on the mound for Rolla Bulldogs Freshman. He surrendered zero runs on one hit over four innings, striking out four and walking zero.
Rolla had seven hits in the game. Seest and Parsons each racked up multiple hits. Seest led the team with three hits in three at bats. Parsons had two multi base hits and led the team with two stolen bases, as they ran wild on the base paths with eight stolen bases. Rolla didn't commit a single error in the field.