Jimmies top No. 6 York
The University of Jamestown baseball team sprang back in a big way on Saturday in Edmond, Okla., and learned a little bit more about itself in the process.
One day after falling 4-1 to York College (Neb.), the Jimmies quickly brushed it aside and upended the Panthers 4-2 in extra innings Saturday to pick up the team’s first win of the young season.
The victory was definitely a nice one. York College was ranked No. 6 in the NAIA preseason poll, and had already played nine more games than the Jimmies entering the contest.
“I’m really proud of how our kids bounced back within 24 hours and were able to respond with a big win over York,” University of Jamestown head baseball coach Tom Hager said. “They’re a solid team and somebody who you have to play really well against to beat.
“We had several guys step up both on the mound and at the plate that contributed to that win.”
Locked in a 2-2 tie, the Jimmies were finally able to take control and score a pair of runs in the top of the 10th inning. The frame began with the Jimmies’ Nolan Skowronek earning a walk, followed by Paul Sitkowski being hit by a pitch to put two men on base for the Black and Orange.
Skowronek, a senior from Gilbert, Ariz., went 1-for-3 at the plate from the leadoff spot with three walks and two runs scored.
The Jimmies then caught a break. Erik Peterson put down a sacrifice bunt to the left side of the infield, but the Panthers’ third baseman erred on the play, which ultimately allowed Skowronek to score.
The Jimmies pushed across the insurance run — Sitkowski — on an RBI base hit by senior first baseman Mitch Stevens. Stevens was 2-for-5 on the day.
The win came a day after the Jimmies started their season with losses to York College and MidAmerica Nazarene University. The Jimmies were scheduled to face MidAmerica Nazarene again on Saturday, but tied at 3-3 in the fourth inning the game was washed away due to rain and will not be reflected in either teams’ record.
“We talked about it on Day 1 of the trip, that we looked like a team that hadn’t played and thankfully our guys made some adjustments into Day 2,” Hager said. “Any time you have a chance to beat a ranked team that has 10-plus games under their belt is certainly going to bode well for the future.
“Even though the fourth game of the trip was rained out, we still got a chance to play 28 innings of baseball this weekend, and that was such great experience for our kids.”
The Jimmies’ Kyle McKay started on the mound against the Panthers, pitching six strong innings. He fanned 10 batters and allowed just one earned run on four hits.
Senior Nick Smart, the Jimmies’ third pitcher of the game, came on in the ninth to record the win. The Jimmies’ pitching staff recorded 12 strikeouts in 10 innings, and senior Shayne Kelly drove in a pair of runs.
“It’s always about finding ways to win and hopefully we’ll continue to keep finding ways to do that as the season progresses,” Hager said. “We still have a lot of little things to work on.”
The University of Jamestown (1-2) has a full week off before heading to Tucson, Ariz., where it’ll play 11 games in six days starting March 9.
“We’re trying to continue to learn more about our players, and Arizona is a great place to do that,” Hager said. “But right now we have a week to make some adjustments, and we’ll worry about Arizona next week.”
University of Jamestown 4,
York College 2 (10 innings)
UJ 002 000 000 2 — 4 7 1
YC 010 100 000 0 — 2 6 2
Kyle McKay, Ryan Vernon (7), Nick Smart (9) and Marcus Blackmon Jr. Josh Knoll, DJ Jantz (5), Brad Lindsley (10) and Tyler Helms.
Highlights: UJ, McKay 6 IP, 10 strikeouts, 4 hits, 1 ER; Nolan Skowronek 1-for-2, 3 walks, 2 runs; Mitch Stevens 2-for-5, 1 RBI; Shayne Kelly 1-for-5, 2 RBIs.
Records: University of Jamestown 1-2; York College 7-5.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at 701-952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org