UWF baseball’s winning streak is challenged through 11 innings

Baseball

Teammates high-five Robert Lopez and Nic Strasser as they head back to the dugout.
Photo by Grier Wellborn.

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

The University of West Florida baseball team’s longest winning streak since 2014 was challenged by the University of Montevallo Falcons in a mid-week series.

After dominating Montevallo 7-2 in the first of the non-conference two-game series on Tuesday night, the University of West Florida baseball team prepared to face them again on Wednesday afternoon.

In Tuesday night’s game, the Falcons took a quick 2-0 lead, and it was not until the bottom of the third that the Argos were able rally with three runs. It was a lead that would extend through the rest of the game.

The Argo win extended UWF baseball’s winning streak to six games, and the team looked for a seventh consecutive win on Wednesday.

Freshman Troy Brown made his fourth career start as the first pitcher on the mound for the Argos on Wednesday’s match at Jim Spooner Field.

Junior outfielder Jean Figueroa would be the first to score for the Argos in the bottom of the ninth after a hit from senior catcher Ben Emery sent Figueroa home.

Figueroa was named the Gulf South Conference player of the week after his outstanding performance over the last weekend. Figueroa batted .538 and also posted three home runs and a multi-home run game on Saturday.

“It was a great opportunity for me,” Figueroa said regarding his Player of the Week award. “We had a great week and weekend, and we’re going to have to keep working to keep having success in play on the field.”

The second inning ended with loaded bases and sent into the third with a 1-0 lead for UWF.

Leading off for the Argos, senior third baseman Jimmy Redovian was first to bat and first to score in the fourth after a hit from Figueroa scored Redovian before Figueroa was tagged out on first.

It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Falcons broke their scoreless streak and put a run on the board.

Freshman pitcher Garrett Peek took over for Brown on the mound in the top of the sixth but was replaced by senior Jarrod Petree for the remainder of the inning. With Petree on the hill the Falcons would sit at one earned run until the ninth inning.

The Argos scored for a third time in the game when a low hit into left field by Figueroa resulted in a run by Redovian (his second). The inning would end with two Argos left on base.

Senior left-handed pitcher Sean Kennedy replaced Petree in the eighth inning. Kennedy was replaced my junior Steve McClellan in the ninth and final inning.

Just as it looked like the Argos would take another sweep the series, the Falcons scored twice in the top of the ninth, tying the game 3-3. The game headed into a 10th inning with McClellan back on the mound.

Montevallo took its first lead of the game in the top of the ninth when senior Chase Bryant took it home for the Falcons, advancing to 4-3. Freshman pitcher Cole Crowder took over the mound in the 11th.

The Argos began the bottom of the 11th hoping to break their run-less streak. With the bases loaded and Redovian up to bat, the Falcons’ pitch hits Redovian, scoring freshman shortstop Robert Lopez.

“I was glad that I got to wear that pitch and get the tying run in,” Redovian said. “That was a tough pitcher. He was throwing hard but I just wanted to do anything I could to get the run in.”

A grounder by senior catcher Kyle Hamner and an error by Montevallo allowed sophomore second baseman Nic Strasser to score from second base, resulting in a walk-off win for the Argos. The 5-4 win for the Argos extended the winning streak to seven consecutive games.

“The crazy thing about baseball is that you can never let up,” Redovian said. “You have to keep the foot on the throat because that’s a good team over there and they did a good job fighting back in the ninth.”

UWF baseball looked to extend the streak even further when they took on Union University on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, the Argos beat the Bulldogs in both games 8-4 and 17-4, respectively. The Argos continued their streak on Sunday with a 7-2 victory over the Bulldogs to sweep the three game series.

UWF is now 24-11 (16-5 GSC) on the season. The Argos will return to The Spoon on next weekend, April 9 and 10, to take on The University of West Alabama.

For the complete baseball schedule visit goargos.com