WEATHERFORD, Okla. – Southwestern hit the road to face Iowa Lakes for a doubleheader Sunday and Monday, splitting the neutral site series 2-2.
The Spartans improved their season record to 2-6 with a 3-2 victory in extra innings by walkoff Sunday and a 7-6 win Monday.
Due to unforgiving weather, Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Oklahoma played host to the Sunday and Monday double dips.
After playing competitive ballgames, with the exception of an inning or two that Namanny wants back, the Spartan’s skipper believes that Iowa Lakes will be a good opponent and test for them going forward.
“I think it was a pretty evenly matched series,” said Namanny. “It’s an opportunity for both teams to pick up wins and it’s a series you’d like to win, and I’m sure they feel the same way. But, coming out with split is maybe what we expected a little bit, but if we could have won one more that would have been great too.”
As of Tuesday, Iowa Lakes has received votes in the NJCAA Div. II baseball standings, falling just outside the top 20 teams in the nation.
Despite their first live game in a full calendar month, the Spartans jumped on Iowa Lakes early, retiring the side in the top of the first and getting an early run in the bottom of the first.
The Spartans retired the side two more times before seeing the Lakers make any damage at the plate, with their first baserunner coming on a leadoff walk in the top of the fourth.
The walk came after Southwestern starter Elier Santana evened up the count at 2-2, but could not retire the Lakers’ Spencer Keane.
The leadoff walk came back to haunt the Spartans as Keane came around to score on a Mallard Holland single, evening up the score 1-1.
After a strong start to the beginning of the game, Santana started to lose composure, hitting back-to back-batters, loading the bases and bringing in a run with the pair of hit by pitches.
With the bases still loaded, Santana got an out to set up an opportunity of an inning ending double play. The double play opportunity disappeared off the bat of Trevor Bormann as he cleared the bases for a triple.
After a pitching change to bring in Aaron Allsup, Iowa Lakes drove in Trevor Bormann on a single from Marcus Pronay.
When the dust settled, the score was 6-1 in favor of Iowa Lakes.
Lakers scoring ended after a Holland two-run homer in the fifth to make it 8-1.
The deficit was too much for the Spartans despite a two-run double from Frank Sanchez to make it 8-3, where the score remained until the final out.
“We kind of struggled to get things moving offensively,” said Southwestern baseball head coach Kenny Namanny. “It had been a while since we had been outside too, like Iowa Lakes, so both teams I think were struggling a little bit. ... That sixth inning was the decider, but other than that it was a close game.”
Game two had a bit of a different tempo, with both sides keeping it low scoring thanks to efficient pitching combinations.
For Southwestern, Dan Kenealy dealt his way into the fourth inning before getting the hook. At the time of relief, Kenealy struck out four and held the Lakers to just two runs on two hits.
Matt Smith took his place on the bump, dealing 3 2/3 innings and holding the Lakers hitless. He struck out seven before handing the ball over to Quincy Collier in extra innings with the score still knotted at two.
Collier stepped into the ballgame in the eighth inning, pitching two scoreless innings while striking out four. His efforts earned him the win, and helped buy the Spartans offense some time before the eventual game winner.
In the bottom of the ninth, a leadoff single from Cade Cox put the Spartans in the driver’s seat and poised to get their first win of the season. A ground out advanced Cox and an error moved the game winning run to third base.
A Sanchez double sealed the deal for the Spartans as Cox ran the 90 feet needed for the walk-off win.
The walk-off win was exactly what SWCC needed heading into Monday.
“We definitely needed something to get things rolling,” said Namanny. “I think if we would have lost that second game Sunday it would have been pretty devastating for us so it was good to get one in the win column and take that into the next day.”
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Early on, the Lakers showed that they were going to be ready from the minute they took the field Monday.
An Iowa Lakes triple drove in a run to put the Lakers up one in the first inning and gained an extra run on a passed ball to make it 2-0 early.
The game would hold at 2-0 until the bottom of the fourth inning on a Frank Sanchez triple that drove in Issac Esquilin to make it 2-1.
The one-run game was lost in the sixth inning on an error that made the score 3-1. A sacrifice fly followed the fielding gaffe made it 4-1 in the top of the sixth.
The Spartans answered back in the bottom half on a Raul Cosme double that scored Chris Palomo, making it 4-2.
With the bases loaded and two outs, the Spartans were unable to move the bases, striking out to end the inning.
A scoreless top half of the seventh inning presented an opportunity to make some magic happen to start the series, but the Spartans left Palomo stranded on first base after a two-out single to lose game one by a final of 4-2.
“Game three was really competitive, and it kind of fed into that last game too,” said Namanny.
The second game Monday started off with a similar look to the one prior, with the Spartans falling behind in the first inning 2-0.
A warmed up Southwestern team quickly found its way back to an even ballgame through an Iowa Lakes error with two outs, scoring a run and giving the Spartans an extra chance to drive in runs.
The Spartans took advantage of the Lakers miscue with a Brian Soto single with two outs to drive in John Figueroa to even the score at two.
After the first inning the runs came to a halt, with both teams dueling it out on the mound.
Spartans ace Ronnie Wigginton pitched a gem into the seventh inning, going 6 1/3 innings while striking out 11 batters and walking one.
He was relieved of his efforts after a big bottom of the sixth put the Spartans comfortably ahead.
A double from Jadriel Pantoja scored Michael Hart to put the Spartans ahead 3-2 and started to unravel the Laker’s staff for the afternoon.
The Lakers hit and walked batters in consecutive plate appearances, loading the bases. A double from Figueroa scored everyone on base to make it 6-2.
For good measure, the Spartans drove in one more on a two out single by Cade Cox that drove in Figueroa.
Now down 7-2, the Lakers knocked Wigginton out of the game, doing so after his pitch count exceeded 100 pitches. He stepped out after a single and double brought the score to 7-5, putting the fate of the game in Jake Panich’s hands.
Panich recorded the final two outs despite giving up a run due to an error, getting the save in the 7-6 win.
“I think that game before really fed into the last one,” said Namanny. “I’m glad we were able to hold them off for a win.”
UP NEXT – The Spartans will play a doubleheader Tuesday, Mar. 19 against NJCAA Div. I No. 12 Johnson County Community College (14-2). First pitch comes at 2 p.m.
“It’ll be a good couple of days for us,” said Namanny. “We’ll get back in the gym and get back on track and ready to go. Johnson County is a very good team and a very good program historically, so it’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
Iowa Lakes 8, Southwestern 3
R H E
ILCC 000 620 0 — 8 7 1
SWCC 100 020 0 — 3 5 0
ILCC: Evan Sankey 5IP 10K 3BB, Chris Isensee 2IP 3K 0BB. SWCC: Elier Santana 3.1IP 3K 1BB, Aaron Allsup 3.2IP 3K 2BB. W — Sankey. L – Santana. HR – ILCC: Mallard Holland. 3B – ILCC: Trevor Bormann. 2B – SWCC: Issac Esquilin, Frank Sanchez. RBI – ILCC: Holland (3), Bormann (3), Andrew Eskens, Marcus Pronay. SWCC: Frank Sanchez (2), John Figueroa. Stolen bases – ILCC: Spencer Keane, Ryan Doran.
Southwestern 3, Iowa Lakes 2 (9)
R H E
ILCC 020 000 000 — 2 4 3
SWCC 101 000 001 — 3 8 2
ILCC: Frankie Cresta 5IP 10K 3BB, Logan Ferguson 3.1IP 2K 1BB. SWCC: Dan Kenealy 3.1IP 4K 5BB, Matt Smith 3.2IP 7K 3BB, Quincy Collier 2IP 4K 1BB. W — Collier. L - Ferguson. HR — none. 3B — none. 2B – ILCC: Holland, Eskens. SWCC; Sanchez. RBI – ILCC: Keane, Pronay. SWCC: Sanchez. Stolen bases – ILCC: Eskens (2), Bormann. SWCC: Cade Cox, Esquilin, Sanchez.
Iowa Lakes 4, Southwestern 2
R H E
ILCC 200 002 0 — 4 3 1
SWCC 000 101 0 — 2 6 1
ILCC: Jacob Myer 7IP 6K 1BB. SWCC: Gianpaul Torres 5.1 IP 4K 4BB, Luis Diaz 1.2IP 1K 3BB. W — Myer. L - Torres. HR — none. 3B – ILCC: Holland. SWCC – Sanchez. 2B – ILCC – Jimmy Mapakou. SWCC: Cosme (2). RBI – ILCC: Holland, Alex Pavon. SWCC: Cosme, Sanchez. Stolen bases; ILCC— Holland (3).
Southwestern 7, Iowa Lakes 6
R H E
ILCC 200 002 4 — 6 11 1
SWCC 200 005 0 — 7 9 2
ILCC: Jacob Buffington 3IP 5K 4BB, Andrew Eskens 2IP 1K 0BB, Alex Pavon 1IP 2K 1B. SWCC: Ronnie Wigginton 6.1IP 11K 1BB, Jake Panich 0.2 IP 1K 0BB. W — Wigginton. L - Pavon. HR — none. 3B — none. 2B – ILCC: Keane, Mapakou. SWCC: Cosme, Cox, Figueroa, Jadriel Pantoja. RBI – ILCC: , Keane (2), Holland (2). SWCC: Figueroa (3), Cox, Pantoja, Brian Soto. Stolen bases – ILCC: Esquilin (2), Keane, Mapakou. SWCC – Cosme, Hart.