PITTSBURG — Inclement weather forcing relocation didn’t slow down St. Mary’s Colgan baseball, as the Panthers swept Columbus Thursday at Jaycee Ballpark as the away team.
SMC starting pitcher Parker Wydick dealt his Panthers to a 10-0, five-inning win in the opener, with the offense providing plenty of run support. The Colgan bats continued to pound away in the second game, putting crooked numbers up on the scoreboard on the way to a 14-6 win in six innings and sweep of the twinbill.
“I really think, defensively, we have been outstanding,” SMC head coach Mike Watt said. “Our infield made great plays today, and our outfield covers a lot of ground. I have to give the kids credit because they work real hard in practice and it is translating into games.”
The Panthers’ record sits at 7-2 overall, 7-0 in the CNC League.
WYDICK SHARP IN OPENER
Wydick kept the Titans from any momentum on offense, stifling Columbus in a complete-game, shutout performance. He allowed just one hit, walked two and struck out six on the way to the win.
“That was another very good outing for Parker,” Watt said. “His pitch count was very low, and he was much more efficient tonight.”
SMC’s offense put up 10 runs on nine hits in the opener, scoring in four of the five trips to the plate as a team.
“Offensively, I think we hit the ball well, but we also ran the bases well,” Watt said. “We took advantage of a few bobbled balls here and there, and we were very aggressive on the base paths, which led to the crooked numbers on the scoreboard pretty quickly.”
Colgan got the scoring started with a pair of runs in the top of the first.
Dominic Piccini drove in the first run with an RBI groundout to score Logan VanBecelaere.
Garrett VanBecelaere followed with a run-scoring single to right-center to put the Panthers on top 2-0.
Cade Simmons pushed the lead to three runs on a two-out single to left field in the top of the third, plating Bryce Hutchins, who doubled down the left-field line earlier in the frame.
SMC scored three runs in the top of the fourth, two of which came on bases-loaded walks to Simon Higginbotham and Hutchins, with the third run coming home on a Drew Beck groundout to make the score 6-0.
The Panthers extended it to a 10-run advantage in the top of the fifth, with Garrett VanBecelaere bringing home the first run on an infield single.
After Higginbotham reached on an error to allow a second run to score, Hutchins capped the frame with a two-run single up the middle to make the score 10-0.
Garrett VanBecelaere, Tyler Brynds, Hutchins and Piccini each had two hits for the Panthers.
Garrett VanBecelaere drove in two and scored once, while Brynds touched home twice.
Hutchins led SMC with three RBIs and scored a run, with Piccini crossing home plate twice and driving in one.
PANTHER BATS POUND AWAY FOR SWEEP
Colgan gained an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning in the second game and never looked back, adding four runs in the third and seven in the fifth to cruise to a sweep of the Titans.
“We talked a little after the first game, even though it ended 10-0, not to underestimate Columbus because they were going to come back and fight for it,” Watt said. “To be able to come out and get that early lead, it helped us play a little more relaxed and confident.”
Garrett VanBecelaere channeled his inner George Springer, leading off the top of the first with a solo home run to left field to give SMC a quick lead.
Simmons picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice groundout later in the inning, and the third run of the inning came around to score on the same play after a throwing error by the Titans.
Columbus picked up its first run of the day on an RBI single to right-center by Jared Graham in the last half of the first, but Colgan pushed across four runs in the third to give SMC a 7-1 advantage.
After the first three Panthers reached to start the third, a wild pitch allowed Max Wilson to touch home.
Logan VanBecelaere singled through the left side of the infield to bring home a run, and Garrett VanBecelaere drew a bases-loaded walk to score a run and put SMC on top 6-1.
The Titans’ catcher attempted to throw behind Austin Lindsey at third base, but the ball got away from the Columbus third baseman, allowing Lindsey to score and stretch Colgan’s lead to six runs.
SMC essentially put the game away in the fifth, scoring seven runs on three hits and six walks to take a 14-4 lead.
Lindsey kick-started the seven-run fifth inning for the Panthers, touching them all on an inside-the-park home run.
Lindsey scolded the ball down the third-base line, got caught up with the Titans’ first baseman rounding the bag, and ended up on third. He was awarded home on the interference call at first, completing the round tripper.
After a walk to Piccini, Garrett VanBecelaere doubled to center field to score a run, and Brynds added a sacrifice fly two batters later to make the score 11-4.
Three consecutive walks loaded the bases, and Logan VanBecelaere followed with a two-run double to left.
Lindsey closed the scoring with a sacrifice fly to right field, pushing the SMC lead to 10 runs.
Higginbotham started the game on the mound and allowed four runs on five hits and three walks in 2.1 innings of work.
Brynds came on in relief and worked 2.2 innings, allowing two unearned runs on three hits, two walks and five strikeouts.
Piccini finished the game out, blanking the Titans over the final two frames.
“It was Simon’s first outing of the year outside of practice, and it was nice to see him get a few innings of work,” Watt said. “It was nice to see Tyler come on in relief after being a starter all year and get in some good work. This was Dominic’s second outing for us, and that’s a big plus to have another arm we can go to in important games.”
Garrett VanBecelaere went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Logan VanBEcelaere had two hits in four at-bats, drove in three and scored once.
Piccini had two hits, two walks and scored a run in game two.
SMC baseball hosts Independence at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Jaycee Ballpark.
-- Lucas Davis is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on twitter @LDsportswriter.