Pilots can’t complete sweep against St. Joseph’s in heartbreaking 8-9 loss
The Pilots looked for their first four-game sweep since 1980 on Saturday afternoon as they took on the St. Joseph's University Hawks. The Pilots won the first three games of this series in convincing fashion, but game four was a different story as the Hawks overcame the Pilots 8-9.
Jordan Horak started the game on the mound for the Pilots and went four innings as the Hawks hung six runs. Horak was not to blame. The defense did not play well behind him or senior reliever Jake Hawken, as the Pilots committed four errors in the first five innings of play. That could have been the difference in the game.
“It played a huge role,” head coach Geoff Loomis said. “We didn’t pitch very well, we didn’t play defense, the first six games of the the season we fielded around .992 so we pride ourselves on playing good defense. We just didn’t execute the plan.”
The bats went cold for the Pilots in the middle innings as an offense that came alive during this series stalled. The offense not performing well in combination with the errors put the Pilots in a 4-9 hole going into the home half of the 8th inning.
The bats woke back up for the Pilots in their half of the eighth inning. Junior Jace McKinney singled up the middle to drive home a run. Junior left fielder Cody Hawken then hit a three-run homerun over the left field wall to bring the Pilots within one run.
The Pilots got out of a jam in the top of the ninth inning as St. Joseph’s put runners on third and second base but could not come away with a run. In the home half of the ninth, the Pilots put senior Matt Kelly on third base, 90 feet away from tying the game.
Sophomore Ryan Kim stepped to the plate with two outs and a chance to win or tie the game with a base hit. Kim put a ball down the left field line that would have scored two runs and given the Pilots the win in walk-off fashion, but the ball was called foul. Later, Kim hit a hard line drive to the left fielder, who made the catch, and the ball game was over.
The Pilots ended the series with St. Joseph’s winning three of the four games in the series. The baseball team will be back in action Thursday, March 1 at 6 p.m. against California State University Bakersfield.