TUCSON, Ariz. - The Simpson baseball team began the 2014 season at the Tucson Invitational over the weekend, going 1-3 with two losses to one of the nation's top teams.
Simpson started the season on Saturday with a doubleheader against No. 9 St. Thomas (Minn.), losing game one 8-0 before battling to a 2-1 loss in the nightcap. The Storm beat St. Mary's (Minn.) 7-6 in Sunday's first game before dropping a 12-9 decision to Wesleyan (Conn.) later in the day.
Simpson is off on Monday and Tuesday and returns to action on Wednesday, March 12 with a doubleheader against Crown (Minn.).
ST. THOMAS 8, SIMPSON 0
Pirtle had two hits in the season opener but Simpson couldn't advance a runner past second against Eric Veglahn, who struck out seven in six innings of work. J.D. Dorgan gave the Tommies a 1-0 lead on an RBI double in the first and Ty Vincent drove in two runs as part of a four-run third inning. Matt Pennings took the loss for Simpson, allowing five runs - four earned - in four innings.
ST. THOMAS 2, SIMPSON 1 Gage Reis kept the St. Thomas bats at bay in the nightcap, holding the Tommies to one run off four hits in five innings. Jake Barr doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Craig in the seventh pull within 2-1 but Jake Esdohr went down on strikes to end it.
SIMPSON 7, ST. MARY'S 6 Austin Burlin drove in the game-winning run on a single in the seventh, scoring Smith as Simpson broke a 6-6 tie. Michael Wilson held the Cardinals scoreless over the final three innings to get the win. Simpson trailed 6-5 in the sixth before Craig doubled to score Barr, who singled one batter earlier. Craig, Anderson and Burlin all had three hits as the two teams combined for 32 on the day.
WESLEYAN 12, SIMPSON 9
Wesleyan scored four runs in each of the first two innings and never trailed in an ugly game that saw each team commit seven errors. Pirtle went 3-for-5, Michael Chia went 2-for-5 with a two-RBI single in the second and Esdohr drove in two runs on groundouts. Kyle Helmerson allowed nine runs - five earned - in three innings for the loss.