Southwestern got a strong pitching performance in the third game of a four-game weekend set with Kirkwood here Friday and Saturday to take one out of the four games from the Eagles.
In Saturday’s opener, redshirt freshman Ethan Westphal of Winterset tossed six strong innings to put the Spartans in position to win the game.
Westphal allowed just two hits and struck out 10 in his six innings of work, before giving way to Jason Roberts to close out the final three innings of the nine-inning game.
“He was really strong,” Southwestern head coach Brian “Bull” Smith said. “A lot of people don’t realize, you may come back as strong after Tommy John surgery, but it may take awhile to get the feel back. He’s not the kind of guy that would walk a ton of guys. We’re getting him linked in now.”
Westphal exited with a 4-2 lead after six. Roberts gave up one run and three hits in his three innings of work to earn the save.
“He’s a high pitch count guy because he strikes out a lot of guys,” Smith said about Westphal. “I made the decision we were going to use Jason Roberts to help us get the win. We were going to stack those two and make sure we got a win in that game.”
Roberts had originally been tabbed as the starter for Saturday’s second game. Zeb Noel hit a late home run to give the Spartans an insurance run in the 5-3 win.
Southwestern nearly came away with a win in the second game of the series on Friday, but couldn’t come out on top of a 17-15 slugfest.
That game featured 32 runs on 32 hits. Kirkwood finished with 15 hits in the game compared to 17 by the Spartans.
“Neither team could get anybody out,” Smith said. “The difference in the ballgame really was that we had two innings in the game where we didn’t score and they had none.”
Kirkwood jumped out to a 7-0 lead before the Spartan bats came alive.
“Our kids, I thought they had great at-bats,” Smith said. “They had a lot of two-strike hits and really worked counts well. I think we had the bases loaded, and we just couldn’t get the last hit we needed.”
Alessio Pena went 3-for-4 in the game with a double, while Gage Gavin finished 2-5 with a double. Matt Mayden went 4-5 with two doubles.
Eric Bueno finished 4-5 with a double and a home run. Jason Roberts knocked two hits, including a home run. Chris Heustis also finished with two hits.
Southwestern dropped the other two games of the series by scores of 12-2 in eight innings on Friday and 15-3 in five innings on Saturday.
The Spartans, now 5-25 overall and 2-18 in the ICCAC, travel to Indian Hills on Wednesday for the final road trip of the season. Southwestern then hosts Iowa Lakes (14-16, 4-12) on Saturday and Sunday.