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Morning Sun
  • Gorillas, Washburn both claim 5-1 victories

  • Pittsburg State split a doubleheader Friday with the Washburn Ichabods at Al Ortolani Field, winning the first game 5-1 and losing the second 5-1.

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  • Pittsburg State split a doubleheader Friday with the Washburn Ichabods at Al Ortolani Field, winning the first game 5-1 and losing the second 5-1.
    The Gorillas committed five errors, three in Game 1 and two in Game 2.
    Defensive miscues apply pressure on a pitching staff, a challenge handled by three Pitt State pitchers who combined to allow three hits in the opener.
    “I thought, in Game 1, we had (George) Brandecker with the start and I thought his stuff was OK,” Pitt State head coach Matt Murray said. “He could command his second pitch a little better. He knows that but Ryan McKay came in a tough situation and did an outstanding job.
    We followed up with James Fitzgearlds so I thought the pitching in Game 1, as well as Game 2 with Eric Hansen in the start and Cameron Fisher following him, was sharp. I thought they all competed in the zone well for the most part.
    “Defensively, we just didn’t communicate well and didn’t make the routine play, unfortunately. We need to get better at that.”
    Washburn took a 1-0 lead in the first game, Brad Alberts scoring on a wild pitch against Pitt State starter George Brandecker. Brandecker pitched into the fourth — allowing two hits, striking out six and walking three in his 16 batters faced.
    Ryan McKay earned the win in relief and James Fitzgearlds a two-inning hitless save. Gorilla hurlers combined for 13 strikeouts, more outs than five groundouts and three flyouts combined over the seven-inning contest.
    Offensively, third baseman Brad Foss tied it up with a RBI double in the third and the Gorillas went ahead on three RBI singles in the fourth by Jacoby Martin, Ryan Ventura and Tory Stoffregen. In the sixth, Topeka native Luke Bordewick added a two-out RBI single, plating Foss after his second double.
    In the nightcap delayed by at least a hour due to anticipated rain, it was Pitt State who struggled with their sticks at the plate against Washburn pitchers Drew Ridley and Mark Biesma.
    “Hats off to their left hander (Ridley),” Murray said. “He did a nice job, worked both sides of the plate, had a nice breaking ball and competed well. But our hitters didn’t make an adjustment like I thought they would staying on top of the baseball and putting pressure on their defense. We just didn’t do that very well in the second game.”
    The Gorillas struck out 10 times against Ridley and Biesma, generating no extra-base hits and just one run-producing hit from Bordewick. Sophomore catcher Ian Robinson did go 3-for-3.
    Washburn scored the last four runs — one in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the ninth.
    Parker Gibson hit a RBI double in the fifth and David Gauntt a two-run double in the ninth.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Ichabods scored their run in the sixth on consecutive wild pitches by Gorillas reliever Cameron Fisher.
    The Gorillas have played seven games since Sunday with the finale of the three-game set with Washburn today moved up to 11 a.m. from an originally-slated 1 p.m. first pitch.
    Eight games in six days means a lot more baseball for Pitt State than some teams in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association due to the aftermath of winter weather.
    For example, Washburn had gone 15 days without a baseball game before a Thursday doubleheader with Northwest Missouri.
    Teams have canceled, rescheduled and moved games around.
    The Lopers of Nebraska-Kearney have taken up home base in Pittsburg since their three-game series with the Gorillas early in the week. Nebraska-Kearney played Missouri Western on Wednesday in Springfield, played a Friday doubleheader against Truman State in JayCee Ballpark and play a single game today at 2:30 p.m. against Truman State in historic JayCee.
    Pitt State went 11 days between games before this recent flurry of games.
    “There, for a little bit, we felt like every game was a season opener but we’re starting to get more of a routine,” Murray said. “Therefore, I would expect our guys to play better. We’ll be right back at it (today) if the weather holds up and we’re at home Tuesday with a nonconference (doubleheader) against Drury. (Pitt State also hosts Southwest Baptist next week.)
    “That’s a lot of games. That’s what we needed. We need to continue to play and get into some routine. That’s very important for our club.”
    Pitt State moved to 7-4 overall, 5-4 MIAA with the split on Friday.
    “We’ve developed a better understanding on the mound, our different roles our staff has established,” Murray said. “We’ve done a nice job there. We’ll continue to improve defensively. We’ll continue to improve offensively. Certainly, since Maryville, we’ve got a better feel for our staff.”

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