Washington Evening Journal
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Tiger baseball sweeps opener
Iowa Wesleyan pounds out 21 runs in Game 1, shuts out Yellowjackets in Game 2
MT. PLEASANT — The season opener for the Iowa Wesleyan baseball team went about as well as the Tigers could ask for. It was all Tigers in a non-conference doubleheader, as the boys in purple rolled 21-7 in the first game and 2-0 in the second.
The Tigers wasted no time in Game 1. Iowa Wesleyan soaked Graceland with seven runs in the first inning, including a three-run bomb by former New London prep Holvin Catala, and it was 7-0 in the blink of an eye.
The Tigers kept pounding away in the second. Iowa Wesleyan scored four more runs, including a couple of RBI singles by Sage Bonner and Foymer Ortega. The Tigers built an 11-0 lead, which they would hold until the top of the fourth.
Graceland finally got to Tiger starter Cuay Massner with a five-run fourth, but as soon as the Yellowjackets were within striking distance, the Tigers began to pour it on again. Iowa Wesleyan had four RBI singles in the fourth inning to push the lead back to double digits, at 16-5.
“Midweek games can be kind of crazy,’” said Iowa Wesleyan head coach Blake Beaber. “Whoever's left on the bump usually gets thrown to the wolves, so it was nice to come, score some runs and give Cuay some support.”
Massner, who was on short rest, settled down after the fourth inning, but the Tigers gave him plenty of run support either way. Iowa Wesleyan tacked on one more run in the fifth, and plated four in the sixth, thanks in part to a two-run bomb by Bonner.
The Tigers gave up just two in the seventh to close out a double-digit win.
Bonner, Catala, Phillip Guerrero and Carlos Vicente each had three RBIs in the win. Vicente and Gabriel Hernandez each had a double to account for two of the Tigers’ four extra-base hits.
Massner pitched six innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out two batters to earn the win.
Game 2 belonged to the Iowa Wesleyan pitching staff. Ian Clements, Jace Roekel and Pedro Ramirez split time on the mound and combined for a four-hit shut out. Each had one strikeout in the win.
Figueroa was the only Tiger with multiple hits in the win. He went 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the top of the fourth. He also scored on a groundout by Ortega.
The wins marked the first two home games of the 2023 season for the Tigers. Iowa Wesleyan had played 20 road games before their first game in Mt. Pleasant.
“It's going to be weird going home and sleeping in my own bed,” Beaber said. “We just came back from a 10-day trip, spent all day yesterday working on the field, and it paid off for us.”
The Tigers are now 7-15 on the year. They will next play at Hannibal-Lagrange University on Tuesday, March 21.