Warhawks, Cardinals: 2 Game Split Series Opener

“Discover the intense battle as the Warhawks and Cardinals split series opener, showcasing thrilling matchups and competitive spirit. Dive into the action-packed rivalry with a split series outcome.”

“Rivalry Intensifies: Warhawks and Cardinals Split Series Opener in Thrilling Showdown”

In Monroe, Louisiana, the ULM and UIW baseball teams faced an unexpected challenge as an electrical issue halted their first game in the fourth inning. However, they quickly regrouped and played two intense matchups on Saturday at the vibrant Lou St. Amant Field.

ULM started off strong, clinching the series opener with a narrow 6-5 victory. Yet, UIW wasn’t to be outdone, swiftly bouncing back to secure a 7-4 win in the second game.

As anticipation mounts, both teams gear up for the final showdown scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday at the electric atmosphere of Lou St. Amant Field.

Game 1: ULM 6, UIW 5

Ian Montz delivered a crucial RBI with a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the eighth inning, bringing Michelle Artzberger home, as ULM secured a hard-fought 6-5 victory over UIW to kick off the weekend series.

Reflecting on the game, ULM head coach Michael Federico expressed satisfaction with the team’s resilience following the delay caused by the light pole outage. “It was great to respond after the delay, with the light pole going out and everything, and getting a win,” Federico remarked. “It’s the first series opening win this year, and it puts you in a position to be able to win a weekend.”

Artzberger showcased stellar performance for ULM, tallying three hits, including a pivotal leadoff double in the seventh inning. Shawn Dalton Weatherbee made a significant impact with a go-ahead 2-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Meanwhile, JD Gregson stood out for UIW, delivering two hits, including a game-tying 3-run home run in the top of the eighth inning, keeping the contest intense until the final moments.

Carson Orton, securing his second win of the season with a 2-0 record, made a significant impact by closing out the game and recording the final four outs. His performance included two strikeouts and just one walk. Earlier in the game, Daniel Gonzalez showcased his pitching prowess with an impressive 3 1/3 innings start, allowing only one hit, one walk, and striking out five before the suspension.

Coach Federico commended the pitching efforts, stating, “I thought our pitchers gave us a chance.” He praised Gonzalez’s performance from the previous night and highlighted Beau Blanchard’s solid three innings in relief on Saturday, where he conceded just one run on three hits, along with one walk and two strikeouts. Federico also credited Carson Orton for his pivotal role in sealing the victory.

On the opposing side, Isaiah Zavala (1-1) took the loss for UIW after allowing six runs, four earned, on eight hits across 4 1/3 innings, with three strikeouts. Josh Salinas started strong, pitching three shutout innings and allowing only one hit while striking out four.

Despite both teams struggling to generate scoring opportunities on Friday night, with Gonzalez and Salinas dominating the mound, UIW had a promising chance in the top of the second inning. JD Gregson’s double put them in a threatening position, but Gonzalez’s clutch strikeout against Rey Hernandez ended the inning, thwarting UIW’s momentum.

Ahead of the top of the third inning, a malfunction in the right field light pole caused a 15-minute delay, disrupting play temporarily. However, both teams were retired in order once play resumed. Daniel Gonzalez was in control, holding an 0-2 count against Ryan Scott when the electrical issues recurred, prompting the game to be suspended at 6:55 p.m. on Friday.

Action resumed the following morning at 11 a.m., with the fourth and fifth innings passing without any scoring. However, ULM seized the initiative in the bottom of the sixth. Jayson Zmejkoski kick-started the inning with an infield single, stealing second base. Despite a lineout from Hasani Johnson and a groundout from Easton Winfield, Zmejkoski managed to capitalize on a throwing error, sprinting home to give ULM a 1-0 lead.

UIW quickly retaliated in the top of the seventh. Rey Hernandez’s RBI single to right field drove in JD Gregson, leveling the score at 1-1. Following a mound visit, Tyler Cowan’s RBI groundout brought Rob Liddington home, granting UIW a 2-1 lead.

Yet, ULM rallied with a four-run surge in the bottom of the seventh. Michelle Artzberger’s leadoff double sparked the momentum, followed by Jake Haggard’s single, putting runners on the corners. A wild pitch allowed Artzberger to tie the game at 2-2 and advance Haggard to second. Subsequently, Shawn Dalton Weatherbee’s 2-run homer and Hasani Johnson’s RBI single extended ULM’s lead to 5-2, closing out the eventful inning.

The heavyweight battle persisted into the top of the eighth inning as the Cardinals staged yet another comeback. UIW capitalized on a pair of walks before JD Gregson’s clutch 3-run homer with two outs equalized the game at 5. Following the homer, a walk and an error added pressure with runners on second and third, but Carson Orton induced a pop-out from Tyler Cowan, halting UIW’s momentum and ending the inning.

In a decisive bottom of the eighth, the Warhawks clinched the eventual game-winning run. Michelle Artzberger ignited the inning with a leadoff single, advancing to third on Kade Dupont’s single. Ian Montz executed a sacrifice bunt, driving in Artzberger and propelling ULM back into the lead at 6-5.

Heading into the top of the ninth, Orton faced a tense situation after issuing a leadoff walk to Grant Randall. However, he quickly regained control, retiring Cameron Caley on a lineout and striking out Ryan Scott. Despite Randall stealing second to position himself in scoring range, Orton remained composed, striking out Dalton Beck swinging to seal the victory for ULM.

Split Series

GAME 2: UIW 7, ULM 4

In the second game of the series, UIW steadily built their lead by scoring in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, accumulating five runs fueled by seven hits and two ULM errors. The Cardinals maintained their momentum, ultimately securing a 7-4 victory.

ULM’s offense was led by Easton Winfield and Jack Clark, each contributing two hits. Michelle Artzberger continued her impressive streak, notching two RBIs while extending her streak of reaching base safely to 40 consecutive games with a double in the fifth inning. Jake Haggard added to the offensive effort with his fourth home run of the season in the eighth inning.

UIW’s offensive prowess was highlighted by Cameron Caley, who recorded three hits and scored three times. Dalton Beck made significant contributions with three hits, including two doubles and a triple, along with an RBI. Weldon Sherrell, entering as a pinch runner early in the game, amassed two hits and two RBIs while drawing two walks.

On the mound, Cam Barlow (0-1) suffered the loss for ULM, pitching 3 1/3 innings and conceding three runs on four hits, with two walks and four strikeouts. Hunter Hargett, who took over from the first game, started for UIW and threw three innings in game two, allowing one run on three hits, with two walks and four strikeouts. Westin Walls (1-0) earned the win, pitching the final 4 1/3 innings for UIW, allowing one run on two hits, while striking out seven and walking two.

“In the second game, I felt our pitching held up well, but we definitely need to step up our offensive game,” commented Federico. “We made some costly errors and left too many runners stranded in scoring positions.”

UIW took an early lead in the top of the first inning when Cameron Caley’s leadoff single was followed by Dalton Beck’s RBI double, allowing Caley to score from first, putting UIW ahead 1-0.

ULM responded in the bottom of the first with a single run. Easton Winfield kicked off the inning with a double, and after Colby Lunsford walked, Michelle Artzberger hit into a double play, advancing Winfield to third. Jake Haggard then drew a walk, deliberately initiating a rundown that allowed Winfield to cross home plate and tie the game at 1-1.

UIW gained momentum in the middle innings, adding to their lead. They scored a run in the third inning with a sacrifice fly by Rob Liddington, bringing in Caley for a 2-1 lead. In the fourth inning, Caley’s RBI single extended UIW’s lead to 3-1. UIW further widened the gap in the fifth inning with two more runs: JD Gregson’s sacrifice fly brought in Beck, and Weldon Sherrell’s RBI single scored Cameron Crotte, giving UIW a 5-1 advantage.

The Warhawks mounted a comeback effort in the bottom of the fifth inning. Marcus Aranda ignited the rally with a one-out single to left center, advancing to second base on a balk. Despite a subsequent pop out, Easton Winfield was hit by a pitch, and Colby Lunsford walked, loading the bases. Michelle Artzberger then delivered a clutch 2-RBI single to left, scoring Aranda and Lunsford, narrowing the gap to two runs, with the score standing at 5-3.

UIW extended their lead in the top of the sixth inning with a run scored on Mendoza’s RBI single, bringing in Caley and extending their advantage to 6-3.

The game settled into a pitching duel until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Jake Haggard’s leadoff home run, his fourth of the season, brought ULM within two runs, making the score 6-4.

However, UIW quickly responded with an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning. Weldon Sherrell’s RBI single drove in JD Gregson, extending UIW’s lead to 7-4. Despite a late rally attempt by the Warhawks, the Cardinals held on for the win, evening the series.

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