The Dirtbags locked up its first series victory Saturday night sending the fans home with a firework show and walk off victory beating Wichita State 6-5.
The team kicked off opening weekend with two close victories before closing out the finale with a blowout 6-11 loss Sunday afternoon.
In the opening night game it was the Dirtbags pitching that stole the show with redshirt senior left handed pitcher Graham Osman tossing seven shutout innings.
Saturday’s win was a back and forth game that saw the Dirtbags fall behind in the middle innings after a solid five inning outing from right-handed pitcher and graduate student Nico Zeglin. It was redshirt sophomore utility player Rocco Peppi that would make the difference, hitting a walk-off home run to complete the comeback for the team.
“He’s a tough out, I mean he really is,” head coach Eric Valenzuela said. “They’re always gonna pitch him tough, but I think Johnny [Long] behind him protects him.”
Peppi proved to be the Dirtbags most impressive bat opening weekend hitting 6-12 with five RBI’s and two runs scored.
On the weekend two Dirtbag hits left the yard with Peppi’s walk off being the first of the season and senior outfielder Joey Walls Jr. solo shot on Sunday being the second.
After two close games, Sunday looked poised to be a repeat outcome with the Dirtbags notching the score at three apiece in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Freshman left handed pitcher Myles Patton was the starter but got pulled after just 1.2 innings after giving up five hits, one walk and two earned runs in his Dirtbag debut.
“I’m not glad that that happened. But I want to see how he’s gonna deal with adversity,” Valenzuela said. “You know, his whole background, he’s never had adversity, he’s always been dominant and won every damn game he pitches.”
Patton wasn’t charged with the loss though as a third inning meltdown from the bullpen saw the Shockers score eight runs and bat around the order. It was the one stain on an otherwise good weekend of baseball on Bohl Diamond at Blair Field.
As far as series go the Dirtbags got a taste of everything, playing one game where they held a lead, another where they made a comeback and lastly a game where they were blown out.
There were positives on Sunday though with the Dirtbags holding Wichita State hitless after that third inning and the team taking the time to get looks at a lot of players that hadn’t gotten into the lineup on Friday or Saturday.
“I think we have the making of a club that could be pretty good,” Valenzuela said. “We go out and get away with two out of three wins here. We learned from it and we move forward and it doesn’t get any easier.”
For the Dirtbags they now go on the road for a single game against Loyola Marymount on Feb. 21, before returning home for a weekend series against Seattle University.