Welcome to The Doghouse, a weekly column recapping Union University sports action from the weekend.
This weekend, baseball, ranked No. 24 nationally, dropped two games at home to Mississippi College, while softball split against MC. On the road, Union Jaxx Ultimate broke seed, taking 15th at the 24-team Tally Classic XII.
Sunday, Union hosted Mississippi College, falling 7-2 and 5-4 in the doubleheader.
In game one, MC scored in the top of the first with an RBI double from Casey Echols. In the second, Union’s Zach Wylie hit the outfield fence for an RBI double. The following inning, Hayden Lewis hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Tyler Mauzy to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead. MC went on to add six unanswered runs to their total, thanks to a Blaine Crim sacrifice fly, an Echols RBI single, a Grant Barber RBI triple, and a Crim RBI double.
In his first start of the season, Austin Kitterman took the loss for the Bulldogs. Kitterman pitched 5.1 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits with five strikeouts. Skyler Harrison was the relief, going the remaining 3.2 innings and allowing one run on three hits with three strikeouts.
In the second game, MC carried their momentum from the first game. The Choctaws scored five runs between the second and fourth innings. Only two runs were earned, as the three runs in the second came off three hits and an error, while the two runs in the fourth came off two hits and two errors. The Bulldogs found themselves facing multiple sacrifice bunt and fielder’s choice situations. Union built a comeback attempt, starting in the fourth and continuing in the seventh, but the rally fell short. Caleb Demarigny walked, which scored Wylie; Austin Orr had a 2-RBI single; and Nolen Milton had a solo homer, setting the 5-4 final score.
Teddy Christie pitched all seven innings for Union, allowing two earned runs and five total runs. Christie had four walks, hit two batters, and threw five strikeouts in the loss.
These were Union’s first back-to-back losses of the 2017 campaign. They fall to 17-5 overall and 7-4 in conference.
The Lady Bulldogs split in their home doubleheader with Mississippi College, winning 16-6 and losing 9-6.
In game one, MC scored first on a single from Tylan Buckley, but in the bottom of the first, Union responded with eight runs on one hit, one error, and ten walks. In the second inning, Hailey Cummings had an RBI single, Ashley Scott had a 3-RBI single, and Gabby Morris had an RBI single. In the third, Makenzie Nieto cut the Lady Choctaws’ deficit to 13-2 with an RBI single. In the bottom of the inning, Cummings reached on an error, scoring Taylor Griffith. Each team added two runs in the fourth, with MC’s reaching home on a Lauren Mulligan double and a Katherine Lee single. Union’s two runs came from a Paige Robertson double that scored Morris and Emily Bennett. MC added two runs in the fifth, but fell short of coming within ten points, giving Union the mercy rule victory.
Hannah Ridolfi earned the win for Union, pitching 4.1 innings and allowing six runs on seven hits and six walks. Parker Davis closed out the game, facing the final three batters.
In game two, Union scored first, putting up one run on a fielder’s choice in the second inning. The Lady Choctaws responded with a five-run third, including a Kristen Qualls two-run homer. MC’s other four runs came in the fourth inning, when Qualls reached on an error to score two runs and Carly Crawford hit a two-run homerun. Union posted one final run when Ridolfi grounded out in the bottom of the fourth to score Bennett.
Morris took the loss, going 3.2 innings and allowing eight runs on ten hits. Davis came in as the relief, pitching 3.1 innings and allowing one run on three hits and two walks.
Union moves to 14-9 overall and 4-7 in conference play.
Entering as the No. 16 seed out of 24 teams, Union took 15th this weekend at the Tally Classic XII.
College Ultimate does not have Division II, so all schools with over 10,000 students are in Division I and those under that mark are in Division III. In the Tally Classic XII, there were two separate groups based on Division. Despite being in Division III and ranked 140th overall by USA Ultimate, Union played in the upper group this weekend.
The tournament opened with five games of pool play on Saturday. The Jaxx were in Pool A, where they started with an 11-4 win over No. 24 Georgia Gwinnett. In the next three games, Union went 1-2, losing to No. 9 Notre Dame 11-6, losing to No. 17 Kennesaw State 11-8, and defeating No. 8 Emory 11-7.
In the final game of pool play, Union faced the No. 1 seed in the tournament, UNC Wilmington. UNCW is ranked 8th in the nation by USA Ultimate and went on to win the Tally Classic XII.
“This game was essentially a win-win situation,” Union Jaxx captain Garrett Wilson said. “Our goal was to win, but… a close game with them showed us that we can compete with anyone, no matter how good they are.”
UNCW defeated Union 11-9, and Wilson said that score was “baffling to UNCW, as well as many other teams.”
Sunday, Union entered the 9th Place Bracket, where they lost to Alabama Huntsville 14-10 and lost to Georgia Southern 12-6. The Jaxx then played their eighth game of the weekend, which served as the 15th place game for the tournament.
“We had just come off of extremely disappointing losses… full of extremely high tension and emotion,” Wilson said. “We grit our teeth and played as hard as we possibly could.”
Union defeated Chattanooga 13-9.
“We had a very up and down tournament in terms of play and emotions,” Wilson said. “Winning that game to cap off the tourney helped us go home in high spirits, albeit exhausted and sunburnt.”
For the Jaxx, the Rookie MVP of this tournament was Josh Bowden and the overall MVP was Avery Teague.
“Bowden not only played hard and made some good plays,” Wilson said, “but we gave him Rookie MVP because he came from not playing a lot of points as a rookie to playing a lot… and doing it well. Avery Teague was the most consistently good player we had. He played extremely well in every game, showing his athleticism by making big plays, but also positioning and using frisbee knowledge to beat his opponents.”
After two spring tournaments, the Jaxx have a record of 7-8.
This week, Union’s baseball and softball teams finish their home series with Mississippi College Monday before traveling to Valdosta State on Saturday and Sunday. Golf will also be in action on Monday, as the men’s team plays at the UT Martin Grover Page Classic and the women’s team plays at the Christian Brothers Buccaneer Spring Classic.