Maybe the Jimmies were frustrated with last Sunday, or maybe they were simply flexing their impressive depth?
Either way, the University of Jamestown baseball team pounded out 26 hits in a two-game offensive assault against the Hannibal-LaGrange Trojans in Hannibal, Missouri, on Tuesday. The Jimmies swept the Trojans 12-5 and 5-2, brushing aside last weekend's pair of losses at Culver-Stockton to end an otherwise promising four-game series with the Wildcats at 2-2.
UJ senior slugger Lincoln Trujillo had himself a Tuesday, batting 6-for-9 with a pair of home runs, four RBIs and two stolen bases. Trujillo's first homers of the season helped send his average soaring to a team-leading .484.
"We got back to playing some good baseball, and anytime you can start the day with some hits and get rolling a little bit, it certainly helps," said University of Jamestown baseball coach Tom Hager. "Lincoln set the tone and a lot of other guys pitched in. We had a really good day from beginning to end offensively."
Jamestown scored in every inning but the first in its 16-hit, seven-run win to start, commanding a 7-2 lead after four frames. Trujillo and senior second baseman Brice Foster both connected for solo shots in the third off Trojans' starter Jorden Billings. Billings was saddled with the loss after being tagged for six earned runs on eight UJ hits.
Foster drove in two more runs in the fourth with a single through the left side of the infield. Catcher Dirk Eymundson accounted for two of the Jimmies' five doubles in the opener, as UJ was simply spraying the ball all over the park. Trujillo (4-for-5), Tayler Cullen (2-for-4), Grant Okawa (2-for-5), Foster (2-for-5) and Eymundson (2-for-3) each connected for multiple hits.
UJ sophomore Kendall Yackley started on the mound and allowed just two runs over 3 2/3 innings before handing the ball over to Cameron Jenkins, who would be recorded as the winner, in the fourth.
"I think we went back to not trying to do too much and keeping things simple at the plate," Hager said. "When we can play small ball and hit a few home runs, that makes us much more potent offensively and I think that's something we need to continue to look to do. We need to use our speed and the home runs are going to come."
A Trujillo two-run homer and a Dylan Dudley RBI triple highlighted a four-run third for the Jimmies in game 2, as UJ belted out another 10 hits and stole five bases. But the story of the game was pitching.
Freshman starter Mitchell Dennis pitched four innings of one-run baseball in his first start of the season, striking out five and notching the victory. UJ senior Andy Reed allowed two hits and struck out four over the final three frames to earn a three-inning save.
Dennis, a 6-foot-3 right-hander from Okotoks, Alberta, finished 2019-20 with a record of 3-1 and an ERA of 5.46 in 28 innings pitched for the orange and black. Reed recorded his second save of the season and lowered his career ERA to 1.55.
"It was really good to see Mitch Dennis settle in," Hager said. "He's a guy who's had some innings for us in the past, but it was his first start of the season and he threw really well, and then Andy Reed was outstanding in relief.
"We feel like one of the strengths of this team is our depth, that's both on the mound and at the plate, and when you get a chance to use some of that depth, especially as you build up these games on this trip, it can really pay off for you."
Normally a week spent basking in the Arizona sun at the annual Tucson Invitational Games, which was canceled this spring due to the pandemic, the Jimmies' spring break road trip is scheduled to pull into Orange City, Iowa, on Friday to play Northwestern College in non-Great Plains Athletic Conference action.
UJ was originally scheduled to play four games against No. 6 Louisiana State University Shreveport in Joplin, Missouri, this weekend, but that series was scrapped due to a poor weather forecast. Friday's action in Orange City could include two games against the Red Raiders or one game against the Raiders and another game against a team to be determined.
Spring baseball schedules in the northern plains can change by the hour.
Jamestown is scheduled to wrap up its current road trip Sunday in Moorhead, Minnesota, playing two games against Concordia College beginning at 1 p.m.
GPAC play is scheduled to begin March 20 for the Jimmies at Hastings College in Nebraska. UJ's home opener at Jack Brown Stadium is scheduled for April 1 hosting Briar Cliff.
"We're going to play some quality baseball teams to wrap up and we want to end on a good note so that we can get rolling into the conference season," Hager said. "We got back to playing Jimmie baseball Tuesday and that's something that we need to continue to do if we want to have success throughout the rest of the season."
University of Jamestown 12, Hannibal-LaGrange University 5
UJ 013 322 1 -- 12 16 0
HL 002 021 0 -- 5 12 4
Kendall Yackley, Cameron Jenkins (4), Try Evans (6), Noah Soltero (7) and Dirk Eymundson. Jorden Billings, Graysan Peneston (4), Heath Ayers (7) and Drew Forney, Isaak Hays. W-- Jenkins. L--Billings.
Highlights: Yackley 3 2/3 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO; Jenkins 1 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO; Evans 2/3 IP, 2 BB, 1 SO; Soltero 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO; Tayler Cullen 2-4, R; Grant Okawa 2-5, 2 R, RBI; 2B; Lincoln Trujillo 4-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, SB; Derek Almanza 1-2, 2B, RBI, BB; Brice Foster 2-4, HR, 3 RBI; Dirck Eymundson 2-3, 2 2B, RBI, BB; Michael Asahara 1-3, 2B, 2 BB, 2 R.
Records: Jamestown 8-7. Hannibal-LaGrange 5-1.
University of Jamestown 5, Hannibal-LaGrange 2
UJ 004 100 0 -- 5 10 0
HL 100 001 0 -- 2 6 1
Mitchell Dennis, Andy Reed (5) and Braxton Hewitt, Connor Mormon (5). Jakob Rhoderick, Lucas Burress (5) and Braden Lawson. W--Mitchell. L--Rhoderick. S--Reed.
Highlights: Dennis 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO; Reed 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO; Tayler Cullen 2-4, 2B, R, SB; Grant Okawa 2-4, RBI, R; Dylan Dudley 1-4, 3B, RBI; R; Lincoln Trujillo 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, R, SB; Brice Foster 2-3, R, 2 SB; Michael Asahara 1-2, BB.
Records: Jamestown 9-7. Hannibal-LaGrange 5-2.