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Home sweep home

Spartan baseball takes pair in home opener Thursday

Published: Friday, March 17, 2017 4:52 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 17, 2017 5:07 a.m. CDT
Caption
(CNA photo by RYAN KRONBERG)
Southwestern Community College sophomore Manuel Houzany follows through on a base hit during game two of Thursday's doubleheader against Iowa Lakes Community College in Creston. Houzany drove in two runs on the play, part of a 3-for-4 attack with four runs driven in during the Spartans' 12-11 game two win.
Caption
(CNA photo by RYAN KRONBERG)
Southwestern Community College freshman pitcher Nick Houzenga fires a pitch to the plate during game one of Thursday's non-conference doubleheader against Iowa Lakes Community College in Creston. Houzenga threw six solid innings in the Spartans' 7-5 game one win.
Caption
(CNA photo by RYAN KRONBERG)
Southwestern Community College shortstop Erick Espinosa makes a play during game one of Tuesday's non-conference doubleheader against Iowa Lakes Community College in Creston.
Caption
(CNA photo by RYAN KRONBERG)
Southwestern Community College freshman Nathan Torres connects on a home run in game two of Thursday's non-conference doubleheader against Iowa Lakes Community College in Creston.

Southwestern Community College’s baseball team returned home Thursday for the first time this season.

Something that had not been heard much of in the first few games of this season was heard loudly in its first games on the home diamond this season.

The Spartan offense broke out for a combined 26 hits, including four home runs, as they swept a pair from Iowa Lakes.

Southwestern took the opener 7-5, then pulled out a wild 12-11 win in the nightcap.

“To play at home is great,” said freshman Nick Houzenga. “To start the first game at home is awesome. We practice hard all the time. We sweat. We just need to defend this place.”

The Spartans pounded out a season-high 15-hit attack in the game two win.

“We hit pretty good,” said sophomore Victor Perez. “We’ve got to start hitting more.”

Southwestern’s two close wins were a needed boost after a number of close losses earlier in the season.

“We needed to start wining those close ones,” said Southwestern coach Pedro Hernandez. “This one (game two) was closer and we got the win.”

The hard work this week showed up in Thursday’s games, which were being made up after being postponed Tuesday due to cold weather.

“We worked hard this week, really really hard,” Perez said. 

Southwestern pounded three home runs in game two — from Pedro Nazario, Jose Mendez and Kevin Torres.

It helped Southwestern to score its season high offensively.

“It was good to see what they’re capable of after putting up big numbers in both,” Hernandez said.

The Spartans’ previous best offensive output came on Feb. 25 in a 10-7 win over Hesston Community College in Kansas.

Coming into Thursday, Southwestern had scored six or more runs only twice in the first 14 games.

“We had not been hitting the best,” Hernandez said.

Southwestern fell behind 1-0 in the second, but erupted for four in the home after. Iowa Lake tacked on two in the third, but Southwestern Countered with six unanswered and eight of the next nine runs for a 12-4 lead after five.

The Lakers rallied for seven in the sixth, but the Spartans worked a scoreless seventh to seal the win.

Manuel Hazoury was 3-for-4 with four runs batted in. Mendez had two hits and two driven in. Torres drove in two with his home run.

Erick Espinsoa had two hits and scored three runs. Perez had two hits and scored twice. Hazoury, Gabriel Leon, Nazario, Stephan Soto and Torres each scored a run. 

In game one, Southwestern took control with a five-run second inning. The Spartans tacked on two more in the fourth. Iowa Lakes talied a run in the third, two in the fifth and two in the seventh.

Hazoury had three hits and drove in a run. Perez had two hits and drove in a run, while scoring a run. Leon had two hits, including a home run, drove in a run and scored a run. Espinosa had a hit, drove in a run and scored a run. Angel Morales had a hit, drove in a run and scored twice. Nazario and Soto each had a hit and scored a run. 

Houzenga pitched six solid innings for the win in game one. He scattered four hits, walked five and struck out six.

“I was feeling pretty good,” Houzenga said. “I had some adversity in the fourth and fifth, but battled through it and got outs.”

Dylan Torres earned the win in game two. Oscar Rivera pitched an inning and one-third to earn the save, with two strikeouts, including the final out of the game.

With a four-game weekend series coming up, pitching was at a bit of a premium in game two.

“We were a little shorthanded there trying to put some pieces together to get the final outs,” Hernandez said. “It was good that when we needed it, they got outs.”

UP NEXT — Southwestern (5-11) hosts Minnesota West Community College for four games this weekend. Saturday’s doubleheader starts at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s twin bill at 1 p.m. The first game each day will be seven innings and the second game nine innings.

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