The Harding University baseball team won their conference series 2-games-to-1 against East Central University (ECU) by clinching the third game played on Saturday, Mar. 2 at Jerry Moore Field.
The game started off slow with no runs in the first inning but then picked up when the lead changed four times between the second and sixth. Senior outfielder Jack Thomas then took the final lead of the game by starting off the inning with a walk and was hit in off of a single by senior outfielder Nolan Fertig.
The game winning run came from junior infielder Luke Van Dover’s lead off walk in the seventh and then his score on a single from Thomas giving the Bisons a 6-4 lead. Van Dover also hit a double down the left field line earlier in the fifth inning that later on helped him to score another run.
“I was struggling at the plate this weekend,” Van Dover said. “I really just got in the box and was looking to do my job, make solid contact and that’s what I did.”
Junior pitcher Logan McCall threw the first four innings of the game allowing three earned runs and three strikeouts in total. Freshman pitcher Kaden Kirby took over in the fifth inning giving up three hits and one run. Finally, senior Ryder Yakel stepped up to the mound in the sixth inning and continued to pitch for the rest of the game.
Yakel didn’t allow any runs until the ninth inning when ECU’s Ryan White scored off Dakota Washington’s triple to left center with no outs. ECU’s Dylan Lang then hit a hard grounder to third where Van Dover tagged out Washington instead of throwing to first. Yakel threw two more outs which won the game in the ninth inning.
After getting the save for the Bisons, Yakel said that this win was especially needed going into another big series next weekend. Head Coach Patrick McGaha was also pleased with this game and series win.
“It’s always good to win the series,” McGaha said. “That’s what we try and do, obviously sweeps would be wonderful but you want to win your series and if you can every weekend then you are going to have lot of success especially at home.”
The victory gave the Bisons an overall record of 13-7 and 6-3 in the GAC.