North Central Missouri College Baseball earned a split in a home doubleheader Thursday against the #5 ranked team in the nation, Crowder College. The Pirates couldn't get the offense going in the opener falling 5-2 before taking the second game 5-1. "We competed really well all day. That is what we asked of our players and it turned out to be a solid day of baseball for us," commented Coach Hillerman. The Pirates now have an overall record of 19-22. In Region 16 play, the Pirates are 10-12 with 10 games left to play.
In game 1, the Pirates came up against a tough lefty in Crowder's Joey Cooner. Before the game against the Pirates, Cooner had a 6-1 record with a 1.05 ERA and 68 strikeouts over 51.1 innings pitched. It was more of the same though the two runs the Pirates plated actually raised his season ERA. Over 7 innings, the Pirates struck out 9 times and only scored on Quinsly Balentien's 2 run homerun in the sixth inning. "We just did not take enough quality at-bats in game one. Their pitcher was very tough," added Coach Hudlow.
In the game 2 win, the stellar pitching swung the Pirates direction. Freshmen Trae Brownell and Blake Collister combined to throw a one hitter over nine innings. Crowder's only run came on that hit, which was a solo homerun. "You have to be excited about the way Trae and Blake threw the ball. That, plus outstanding defense, were our keys to success today," remarked Coach Suttenfield.
The next action for the Pirates will be a road doubleheader against Crowder on Saturday.