By Erik Hildebrandt
The Adams State University Grizzlies faced off with the Texas Permian-Basin University Falcons this past weekend in Odessa, Texas. The Grizzlies (0-11) and Falcons (5-2) played a doubleheader on Sunday as well as a game on Monday due to extreme winds reaching as high as 50 miles per hour on Saturday, forcing the series to be pushed back a day. The Grizzlies found their stride and turned it into a winning streak by sweeping the Falcons in the three-game set.
The Grizzlies’ pitching and defense were enough to secure a 2-0 victory for the Grizzlies first win of the season.
The Grizzlies found themselves in trouble early in the first game of the doubleheader. Starting pitcher, Danny Brennan, loaded the bases in the second inning with no outs and had to exit the game due to injury. Troy Gutbub was called out of the bullpen to replace the injured Brennan. After two quick strike outs, Gutbub got a Falcon hitter to roll over to Grizzlies shortstop, Dakota Solis, for the third out, escaping any damage. The bats for both teams were non-existent until Orlando Romero singled in the fourth inning for the Grizzlies to put the first hit on the scoreboard for either team. In the fifth inning, Dakota Solis singled to lead off the inning. After a failed sacrifice bunt, Jake Angelopulos replaced Solis on base. Erik Hildebrandt proceeded to double down the left field line scoring Angelopulos. In the sixth inning, Billy Ryan and Patrick Huffaker both singled to start the inning for the Grizzlies. Solis cashed in with a single of his own to score the Grizzlies second run. Two runs were enough for Gutbub as he completed the game by shutting down the Falcons’ offense. Gutbub went six innings allowing one questionably-scored base hit with zero walks and ten strikeouts. It was Gutbub’s first collegiate win at Adams State and the first win of the season for the Grizzlies.
The second game of the doubleheader featured more offense from both teams. A huge offensive burst in the fourth inning sealed the victory for the Grizzlies.
After the Grizzlies were erased consecutively in the top of the first inning, the Falcons leadoff hitter, Tylor Frailey, connected on the first pitch he saw from Adams State’s starting pitcher, David Maldonado, putting it over the right field wall for the early lead. After giving up a run, Maldonado dominated. He pitched 6.2 innings for the Grizzlies allowing only two runs. The Grizzlies offense was quiet through the first three innings of the game, but they came alive in the fourth inning. Nico Nintze singled, then stole a base. He was later driven in by Logan Bistrup with a triple to left field. Romero added with a double to dead center field. The Grizzlies proceeded to add three more in the inning to extend their lead. Bistrup hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth to increase the Grizzlies lead to six runs. After a late comeback attempt saw the Falcons cut the lead to two runs, Ryan added an insurance run for the Grizzlies in the top of the ninth inning. Dalton Carleo came in for the save during the bottom of the ninth. After a base hit, Carleo retired the side to earn his first save of the year.
The final game of the series was another close one with the Grizzlies prevailing with the win.
With a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning, the Grizzlies decided to get a more comfortable lead. After Romero walked, the Grizzlies decided to play some small ball. After a misplayed bunt attempt was thrown into right field, pinch runner Tyler Erzen scored. The Grizzlies plated two more runs in the inning. The bullpen for the Grizzlies held strong and secured the win, 5-3. Trent Hughes received the win in the game.
With the sweep, the Grizzlies move to 3-11 on the season. They will face Dixie State at home on Friday, March 8th.