As the temperature dropped Friday night, it was the bats that got hot.
The Bearkats started off their season against the Creighton Bluejays in the first of a four-game home series.
The crowd was exceptionally large as they welcomed the Bearkats onto the field. The crowd was not disappointed.
Starting pitcher Dallas Gallant retired the side in the first inning with three straight strikeouts.
“[Gallant] did very well. I was pleased with him,” said head coach Mark Johnson. “All of the pitchers did well, coming off some first start jitters.”
However, the Bluejays responded by going three up and three down in their first inning of work as well, including a beautiful catch at the warning track, robbing second baseman Breadon Riley of a double.
The first hit of the game was given up by the Bearkats in the second with two outs. Gallant breezed through the first two batters but was taken deep into the count on his last out. The result was a dinky single, but the mistake was maximized when Creighton infielder Jimmy Swift sent a 1-0 count fastball into left field to give Creighton a 2-0 lead.
The Kats responded with two RBIs in the bottom of the second and established a dominant defensive game.
Riley got his revenge in the third inning when he pounded a pitch out of the ballpark for the Bearkats’ first homerun of the season.
That was the only home run for the team though. For the rest of the game they resorted to small ball tactics, with steals and singles on their way to a 13-hit night.
“We just wanted to work on some things,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know how we would do against their No. One [pitcher].”
Gallant, who struck out six in his five innings of work, was solid. Staying ahead of the count for most of the game, he was able to establish a solid strike zone.
In the sixth, Justin Jackson entered the game. Working like a pitcher who had not faced a real team in months he released his frustration with two strikeouts in as many innings.
The game was virtually sealed by the time closer Matt Shelton entered the game. Shelton struggled early on though, walking his first batter, but was able to clean it up, and he retired the next three for the team’s first win of the season with a 8-6 victory.
The teams played all weekend, including a double header on Saturday. The result was four straight wins for the Bearkats.
The next baseball game will be tonight, Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. against Prairie View A&M. On the mound for the Kats will be Cody Springer
I am just looking forward to a good ball game,” said Coach Johnson about the upcoming game.