The Southwestern baseball team started its season 0-3 with losses at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and to Iowa Western.
But more importantly for the Spartans, they’re already down a key starting pitcher as redshirt freshman Ethan Westphal re-injured his throwing arm, which underwent Tommy John surgery after he injured it last year.
After dropping the first game of last weekend’s doubleheader 13-3 to NEO, Westphal got the start for the Spartans and quickly moved through the first inning, striking out two batters and throwing just nine pitches.
“I feel bad for the kid,” head coach Brian “Bull” Smith said. “He looked like what we’ve been waiting on. He was 85 to 86 with really good breaking stuff. Went out the second inning and he dropped 5 miles per hour and couldn’t throw a strike. You could see the fear in his eyes.”
Smith said Westphal told him he felt the same pain in his elbow he felt last year, right before he tore his ulnar collateral ligament, ending his season.
Westphal had an MRI done Thursday and expects to get the results back today. Smith said he’s hopeful it’s just a strain.
NEO plated 12 runs in the bottom of the second inning, but Southwestern came back with seven runs in the top of the third inning. That was all the scoring for the game.
Landon Camp threw three innings of relief after Westphal exited the ballgame, allowing just one run.
The Spartans then traveled to Iowa Western on Wednesday, where they fell 9-3.
“We lined up on them pretty well,” Smith said. “I thought we competed offensively the whole way. On the mound, we just didn’t have enough to stop people from scoring over the long haul.”
Southwestern trailed just 5-3 in the sixth inning before Iowa Western tacked on four runs late in the game.
Drew Feuerbach recorded a pair of hits, while Matt Mayden knocked a double.
“We threw a bunch of guys out there,” Smith said. “Tyler Englehardt started, went two innings. Landon Camp came in, Ian Dyer came in. Both those guys pitched pretty well.”
Southwestern returns to action this weekend against Carl Albert State in Poteau, Okla. Southwestern then travels to Indian Hills on Thursday.