DALLAS, TEXAS – Faced with a tied game for the first time since the first inning, the ULM baseball team responded with a five-run top of the ninth inning to open the 2017 campaign with an 8-3 victory over host Dallas Baptist on Friday night. The win marked the first time a Warhawk team opened the season with a victory since the start of the 2014 season.
FINAL SCORE: ULM 8, Dallas Baptist 3
LOCATION: Horner Ballpark / Dallas, Texas
RECORDS: ULM (1-0, 0-0 SBC)
Dallas Baptist (0-1, 0-0 OVC)
-After Dallas Baptist used back-to-back two-out doubles to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, ULM sent nine batters to the plate in the ninth and plated five runs in the frame, highlighted by a two-out bases clearing three-run double by Johnny DeLaCruz in his Warhawk debut.
HOW IT HAPPENED
-ULM opened the night with a solo home run that stayed just fair down the left field line off the bat of Anthony Herrera and held the lead the remainder of the night until the tied score in the eighth. Dallas Baptist was able to knot the score at 1-1 via a Warhawk error in the bottom of the first before ULM retook the lead with back-to-back RBI singles from Turner Francis and DeLaCruz in the third inning.
-Dallas Baptist cut the Warhawk lead to one run off of a wild pitch in the fourth inning before sides were held scoreless until the bottom of the eighth.
-DeLaCruz was the only player on either side to notch two hits as he finished 2-for-4 with four RBI in his Warhawk debut. Francis added two RBI to go with his one hit and Casey Oliver (double) also added a hit in their first games with the Maroon and White.
-The top four batters of the ULM lineup produced five of the team’s seven hits, as Nathan Reynolds tallied a hit out of the leadoff spot to go along with Herrera’s homer, Francis’ RBI single and the two hits from DeLaCruz. B.J. Findley and Casey Oliver each added hits as well.
-ULM starter Josh Leone tossed four innings, allowing just one hit and two runs (one earned) as he was able to work around five walks while striking out two batters.
-Kyle Backofen struck out five of the 10 batters he faced in relief in his first collegiate appearance, blanking Dallas Baptist in his 3 1/3 innings of work.
-Herrera earned his first win of the season, going the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing one run on the back-to-back doubles in the eighth before stranding the second hit at second base with a strikeout to end the jam and keep the game tied at 3-3 heading into the ninth.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
-ULM won its season opener for the first time since 2014, when the Warhawks won the first two games of the season against Grand Canyon.
-ULM starter Josh Leone tossed a first pitch strike to 13 of 14 DBU batters through the first three innings.
-Seven different Warhawks (freshman or transfer) made their ULM debuts in the Friday night win.
-The Warhawk victory snapped Dallas Baptist’s winning streak in opening games. Previously, DBU had won three straight season openers.
-ULM won five series-opening games in the 2016 season.
-The Warhawks are now 4-6 all-time against Dallas Baptist.
ULM – RHP Keegan Curtis (2016: 2-2, 4.59 ERA, 51.0 IP, 19 BB, 37 K)
DBU – RHP Trevor Conn (2016: DNP)
-The Warhawks look for the series win on Saturday against Dallas Baptist with first pitch set for just after 2:00 p.m. at Horner Ballpark. Saturday’s game can be heard on the Warhawk Radio Network.
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