Trailblazers drop doubleheader to No. 2-ranked Heartland


VINCENNES, Ind. – The Vincennes University Trailblazer baseball team was unable to overcome mistakes and free bases Friday evening in Mid-West Athletic Conference (MWAC) doubleheader, falling to No. 2 Heartland Community College 8-3 and 10-3.

The two teams began the day by trading zeros on the board for the first third of game number one of the day. Each team’s starting pitcher was able to make it through the first three innings of play without allowing a run.

The Hawks would be the first to break the 0-0 tie with a run in the fourth. VU would answer back in the 5th after a walk by sophomore Kaden Elliott (New Albany, Ind.), a double by sophomore Colton Evans (Henderson, Ky.) and a walk to load the bases by freshman Carter Whitehead (Huntingburg, Ind.) was followed by a two-RBI pinch hit single by sophomore Colin Long (Evansville, Ind.) to give the Blazers a 2-1 lead of the No. 2-ranked team in the country.

Heartland would waste little time getting these runs back however, scoring three in the sixth to take the lead back and adding a run in the seventh and eighth to take a 6-2 lead.

VU would look to rally back late in the eighth inning after a leadoff walk by sophomore Will Egger (Terre Haute, Ind.). Egger would be pinch run for by freshman Keegan Schlotterbeck (Centerville, Ind.).

Schlotterbeck would later be driven in on a two-out RBI single by sophomore Ethan Burdette (Linton, Ind.) one of his two hits in the game to cut the deficit to 6-3.

Heartland would add a pair of runs in the ninth to expand their lead to five before sending the Blazers down in order in the bottom of the ninth to close out the game one victory 8-3.

VU was led on the mound in game one by sophomore Xavier Hart (Jeffersonville, Ind.) who threw three and two-thirds innings, allowing one run on one hit and striking out three.

Freshman Gavin Craggs (Taylorville, Ill.) was the first out of the pen, throwing two innings of work, allowing three runs on three hits and striking out two.

Freshman Christian Pinson (Elizabethtown, Ky.) pitched an inning and a third, allowing one run on one hit and striking out three before turning the game over to sophomore Eli Steimel (Sullivan, Ind.) who threw an inning and two-thirds allowing three runs on three hits and striking out two.

Freshman Max Lines (Indianapolis, Ind.) took over in the ninth and only faced on batter to end the inning.

“We have got to be able to play defense and only give them 27 outs,” VU Head Baseball Coach Chris Barney said. “We also have to limit the free bases, we gave up a ton of free bases in the first game on walks, hit by pitches and wild pitches. It really turned into the difference in the game. The other team didn’t make those mistakes and we did. When you bring the No. 2 team in the country in here, that’s what is going to happen when you give them multiple outs.”

Heartland looked to keep the momentum going in game two of the series and quickly jumped ahead with a pair of runs in the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead.

Vincennes would get a run back in the second after a two-out double by Colin Long, followed by an RBI single by Will Egger.

The Hawks would again answer back at the plate, scoring three runs in the third and continuing to grow their lead with three runs in the fifth and two runs in the sixth to lead 10-1.

VU again looked to rally late and began the seventh with a single by freshman Trevor Newman (Fort Wayne, Ind.).

Ethan Burdette stepped up to the plate later in the inning with two outs and came through big again with an RBI triple to score Newman. This was Burdette’s second hit of the game, fourth hit of the day and second RBI on the day.

Burdette would be driven in on an RBI single by Kaden Elliott, who was then followed by Colton Evans who reached on an error.

This would be as close as the Blazers would get however, although Carter Whitehead did manage to make good contact on a ball that looked to be headed over the outfielder’s heads, it was caught for the third out and giving Heartland the 10-3 victory over the Trailblazers in game two.

VU freshman Josh McCormick (Indianapolis, Ind.) toed the rubber in game two, throwing three and a third innings, allowing five runs on two hits and striking out two.

Sophomore Dawson Blaylock (Eaton, Ohio) took over in the fourth and threw an inning and two-thirds, allowing three runs on two hits and striking out four.

Freshman Bryton Griffy (Louisville, Ill.) pitched the sixth, allowing two runs on one hit and striking out one before turning the game over to sophomore Nick Kapostasy (Cincinnati, Ohio) who pitched a shutout seventh, allowing one hit and striking out one.

Vincennes on the day managed to outhit the highly rated Hawks 19-15, but were unable to overcome a combined eight errors in the two games. VU’s pitchers also accounted for 19 total walks and seven hit by pitches in the Friday doubleheader.

“Second game was the same situation,” Barney added. “We had multiple opportunities to hit with runners in scoring position in the second, fourth and fifth innings and were only able to come up with one run in those innings. We’ve got to do a better job from that avenue.”

“Our pitchers, it’s the same thing,” Barney said. “Walked guys. Gave up wild pitches and just couldn’t get it done. If we want to be a competitive club, we have got to get it done better on the mound than we are right now.”

The Trailblazers will look to bounce back and limit the mistakes when the two teams return to Jerry Blemker Field tomorrow, April 8 for the final two games of this four-game Conference series. First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1 p.m. eastern.

“We’re not that far off from competing against this team,” Barney added. “But it comes down to execution. It comes down to executing pitches and it comes down to guys stepping up with big hits at the plate. The positive thing about today is that we get to come back tomorrow and do it all over again and hopefully we can bounce back.”



Heartland – 000   103   112 – 8

VU (16-17, 4-5) – 000   020   010 – 3


2B – Evans, Long, Egger. RBI – Burdette, Long 2, SB – Evans.


Heartland – 203   032   0 – 10

VU (16-18, 4-6) – 010   000   2 – 3


2B – Long. 3B – Burdette. RBI – Burdette, Elliott, Egger. HBP – Bartlett.