Men’s baseball team notches first victory at Fowler Park After being swept by the rival San Diego State Aztecs in their opening weekend of the season, the Toreros bounce back to win three out of four against the Golden Flashes of Kent State University

By Hunter Jameson

With the season finally under way, Torero baseball had a great week of practice in preparation for their series against the Kent State Golden Flashes. They hosted the Mid-American conference competitor at Fowler Park in a four game series that started Friday, Feb. 22.

Junior ace Michael Wagner was on the mound for the Toreros, facing junior Tyler Skulina of Kent State. Both pitchers brought their best, and the game was a complete pitcher’s duel from start to finish.
Wagner went seven strong innings, giving up six hits and one run. This effort kept the Toreros in the game. Skulina put the Golden Flashes on his back and carried the team through eight innings while giving up two hits and no runs.

A bit of history was made as Kent State senior center fielder Evan Campbell hit the first home run at Fowler Park over the right field fence off of Wagner.

The Toreros put on their rally caps in the ninth inning. Senior AJ Robinson had the most important hit of the game, a two-out RBI double that scored senior Dillon Haupt to lead the Toreros to their first victory of the season. Freshman PJ Conlon was credited with the win after entering the game to relieve Wagner.

Saturday was a busy day of baseball with a doubleheader being played at Fowler Park. The first game was a thriller as the bats came alive for both teams. Junior Dylan Covey started the game for the Toreros and pitched five innings while giving up three runs.

The Torero offense had Covey’s back, producing 18 runs. This performance proved to be a boost to their confidence.

Junior Shortstop Derek Toadvine homered for the Golden Flashes, but that was not enough to keep them in the game. Senior Starter Casey Wilson was credited with the loss after giving up six runs in four innings.

The majority of the runs came in the fifth inning for the Toreros, socring eight runs on four hits. Leading the way was Haupt who picked up five RBIs, two hits and scoring one run. Eight Torero hitters had at least one RBI.

The second game of the day was started by junior Max MacNabb for the Toreros and junior Taylor Williams for Kent State. Williams was very efficient in his outing, pitching eight solid innings and allowing five runs.

The Golden Flashes got the ball rolling early with two runs in the first inning coming from senior Jason Bagoly’s 2 RBI single. Freshman first baseman Zarley Zalewski started the fifth inning by hitting a home run which shifted the momentum in the Golden Flashes’ favor.

The Toreros came back with a three run sixth inning, but ultimately it was not enough to get the win. Junior Chris Woolley was the most productive Torero hitter on the day, going two for three with two RBIs. Zalewski finished with two hits, two runs, and three RBIs for the Golden Flashes.

The final game of the series was dominated by the Toreros from start to finish. An eight run, seven hit second inning built a comfortable lead for the pitching staff.
Conlon started the game by going two and one third innings and then sophomore Max Homick took over. Homick went five and two thirds innings while giving up one run. Junior Kris Bryant hit the first Torero home run at Fowler Park in the second inning.

The Toreros scored six more runs to finish the series with a 14-2 victory. Junior Louie Lechich lead the way with four RBIs and one run scored.

The Toreros (3-4) have momentum on their side after a solid series when their bats finally went to work. Looking at the upcoming week, they travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C. to take on a tough team in Coastal Carolina. The competition will continue to get stronger at the Hughes Brothers Challenge in Wilmington, N.C. starting March 1.

They will face their strongest opponent of the season so far on March 5 at home against the No. 19 Cal State Fullerton Titans. Fowler Park will host the USD Tournament, which goes from March 8 through March 10. This tournament will include the University of Michigan Wolverines, the St. Louis University Billikens and the College of the Holy Cross Crusaders. There is a ton of baseball coming up in March, so go buy those sunflower seeds and get ready baseball fans!