The baseball team ended the weekend with one win and two losses to Henderson State University (HSU) in the first series of the Great American Conference (GAC) schedule on Feb. 19-20 at Jerry Moore Field.
Harding took the first game of the series on Friday in a 6-5 extra-inning win, but dropped both contests on Saturday 4-1 and 3-1, respectively.
The baseball team is now 5-7 overall and 1-2 in the GAC. With more than 30 conference games left to play in the season, sophomore infielder Zach Beasley says he is confident that the team will bounce back from this weekend’s losses.
“We knew that (Henderson) hadn’t started off as good as they’d wanted to this season,” Beasley said. “But we knew they’d be good, that they’d compete hard and play hard.”
Harding took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning of Friday’s game, and extended it to 5-0 with three runs in the fourth. HSU scored one run in the sixth inning and two in both the seventh and eighth, which sent the game into extra innings.
The Bisons won it in the bottom of the 12th when sophomore infielder Tyler Mohr drove a single through the right side of the infield, scoring senior infielder Alan Copeland.
Coach Patrick McGaha complimented the pitching and defense of the team this weekend, and said all three starting pitchers, senior’s Andrew Fiddler, Hunter Payne and Andrew Ralston, threw quality starts both Friday and Saturday.
“Pitching and defense have been very good,” McGaha said. “We’re fielding .983, which is just unbelievably good…we’re off to an even better start than (last year) right now. We just haven’t hit the ball as well as we needed to.”
HSU started strong on Saturday, taking a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning of the first game. Harding’s lone run came in the seventh inning. Senior outfielder Harrison Hunter laced a double down the right field line, scoring on senior outfielder Zac Stewart’s single to left field, his sixth RBI of the season.
In the second game, the Bisons took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. HSU had only one hit the first four innings, but they came back to win the game with a two-out, two-run double in the sixth.
Commenting on the loss, Beasley said that both teams played well, but HSU had a few more breaks with more hits falling with runners in scoring positions.
“We’ve just got to keep going,” Beasley said. “It’s just three games—we’ve got 30 more. We kind of had the same thing happen last year, and at the end of the season, we were playing for a conference championship.”
McGaha also said he has confidence in the rest of the Bison’s conference season.
“We’ve got to stay positive and keep working hard,” McGaha said. “Once the hitting comes around, if we keep pitching and playing defense like we are, then we have a chance to win a lot of games.”
The Bison’swill play a three-game conference series at Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and 27.