After completing the winningest season in program history, the Seattle University baseball team wrapped up its historic run with a loss to Utah Valley in the Western Athletic Conference Championship game at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz.
The loss came after a high scoring win against New Mexico State, who managed to put up ten runs on the usually stellar Redhawk pitching, which amassed a 3.62 ERA in 2016.
Starter Janson Junk struggled early, allowing five runs in the first two innings alone before he was replaced by Jake Prizina. Junk would go just 2.0 innings, having allowed five runs on eight hits and a strikeout.
Down five, Seattle U, responded in the bottom half of the second with a seven run rally that put the Redhawks up by two, 7-5. They would add another four an inning later thanks in large part to a pair of hits that led off the inning and made the score 11-5.
The Aggies refused to go quietly, however, and they chipped away at the Seattle U lead, scoring one run in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings before they knocked in a pair in the top half of the eighth—perhaps a response to the Seattle U run that scored in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a Griffin Andreychuk single.
Despite allowing five runs, the Seattle U bullpen picked up their starter and managed to hold off NM State for seven innings, thanks to relievers Jake Prizina and Connor Moore who combined for seven innings of solid relief and struck out seven between them.
In the championship game, Utah Valley struck first with a quick run in the first off of Seattle U starter, Zach Wolf. Then, they added three more in their half of the fifth, making the score 4-0. That would prove to be more than enough run support for the Wolverine starter, Kaden Schmitt.
Schmitt, who owns 5.06 ERA on the season, somehow outwitted a normally powerful Redhawk lineup that batted .292 as a team and outscored opponents 331-249 throughout the course of the season. Their road vs home record, however, might provide some insight into their inability to score on Schmitt, given that the Redhawks were 24-4 at home this season, compared to 11-14 on the road.
Looking ahead to next season, the Redhawks will look to build on what was the team’s best season to date. Their second best season was last year’s. A gambling man might see a trend here, but who am I to tell. No matter what, though, the 2017 Seattle U squad will have some big shoes to fill.
Will may be reached at [email protected]