BEATRICE, Neb. — After having been cooped up inside all year, the Southwestern baseball team just wanted to get outside.
The first two games of the year had been cancelled because of snow.
So when the Spartans showed up here Thursday and realized they were going to get their games in, they were understandably excited.
“It was amazing. It was just something, I don’t even know how to describe it,” head coach Brian “Bull” Smith said. “Our kids were just kind of awe struck because they were somewhere where there wasn’t snow on the ground. That group was excited all day long. I was really happy about the effort and intensity today.”
The Spartans opened up the season by splitting with Southeast Nebraska, losing the first game by a score of 6-5 and taking the second contest, 9-4.
Southwestern had the tying run on second base in the seventh inning of the first contest, but was not able to bring him around to score. A baserunning error earlier in the game had cost the Spartans a run.
But overall, Smith said he was happy with how his team played for its first time being outside.
“We had one of those innings where we gave up four and had a baserunning mistake, but other than that, I thought we were clean,” Smith said. “The biggest surprise of today, considering we haven’t taken a ground ball on anything but a gym floor, is we were extremely clean on defense. I think we only had two errors on the day.”
Jordan Reyes, a freshman from Miami, took the hill for the first game and pitched well minus the four-run inning. Reyes was able to work himself out of trouble, while battling from behind in the count.
Corey Williams, a redshirt freshman from Olathe, Kan., pitched in relief of Reyes in the opener.
After not looking good at all through the order the first time through, Smith said, Seth Lieser, Ethan Westphal and Omar Hotusing came back with good at-bats as the game went on.
Redshirt freshman Brett Ramey of Omaha earned the starting nod on the hill in the second game and pitched into the sixth inning.
Manny Rivera, a freshman from Kissimmee, Fla., came in in the sixth inning with runners on first and second and nobody out, and pitched out of the jam without giving up a run, earning a save.
Drew Feuerbach, a freshman from Omaha, and sophomore Dillon Coates, a returning second-team all-region player from Indianola, hit the ball well in the win.
“We did a great job with situational hitting,” Smith said. “We’d get guys on and somebody would come up with a double or they’d work a two-strike single. Throughout the day, we really did a good job inning-by-inning. There wasn’t an inning that was a really big inning.”
The Spartans return to action today in Beatrice with an 11 a.m. game against Northland Community College and a 3:30 p.m. game against Southeast Nebraska.