Gorillas knock dust off bats
Garett McCullough | sports editor
Matt Murray and his Pittsburg State baseball team didn’t wait for the warm weather to heat up in the batter’s box as PSU manhandled the Maryville University Saints (Mo.), 18-1 and 16-5 in last weekend’s double-header in Pittsburg.
PSU baseball coach of 22 years, Steve Bever, stepped down last season to make way for a new coach Murray, and a new era of Gorilla baseball. Murray, a former assistant at the University of Central Missouri, didn’t disappoint in his first double-header as head coach.
In the first game of the season, on Friday Feb. 16 the Gorillas and the Saints looked to be in for a pitcher’s duel early on, with PSU holding a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth.
However, in the bottom of the fourth, second baseman Austin Lastimado ignited a Gorilla offense that wouldn’t cool off anytime soon.
After Lastimado stroked his double into right field, PSU reeled off two more hits and finished the inning with five runs. That made the score 6-0. Mayville had no answer in the top half of the sixth inning; going three up, three down.
The Gorillas were not as inept in their half of the inning, putting up three more runs and were still nowhere near packing up the bats for the night.
After shutting the Saints down again in the seventh, the Gorillas proceeded to push nine more across the plate in the bottom of the inning. First baseman Ryan Bilovesky had the biggest hit of the game with his grand slam.
Neither team managed any more runs through the final two innings, leaving the Gorillas with the 18-1 win.
In the second game, on Saturday, Feb. 17, the Saints came out swinging, scoring two runs in the top of the first on four hits. The Gorillas were held scoreless in their half of the fourth, but left two men on base.
Maryville continued to make good contact with senior Cody Wren’s pitching in the second inning, scoring three more runs. Wren was then pulled in favor of the bullpen, which pitched a combined shutout in the remaining seven innings.
PSU couldn’t keep up with the Saints hitting through the first three innings, but losing by two going into the bottom of the fourth the Gorillas rattled off five runs on three hits. Cody Ball rapped up the scoring with a three-run homer in the inning.
Ball’s homerun reawakened the bats from the previous day as the Gorillas scored eight more runs before the game’s end. Bilovesky had two homeruns in the second game; giving him three in two games, and Evan Thomas put his first of the season in the fifth.
The Gorillas had their games, set for Wednesday, Feb. 21, canceled due to weather and will head to Warrensburg, Mo. to face Murray’s old team, the Mules of Central Missouri on Saturday, Feb 23.