by Julien Benjamin
KSU’s offensive slump continued in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, as the Owls were shut out by Gardner-Webb 3-0, in a shortened seven inning affair. The Owls, now 4-4, struggled yet again to collect timely hits, stranding seven runners overall.
Owls pitching was strong yet again, as starter Nathan Harsh threw five innings, allowing just three hits, and striking out five. He worked his way out of several jams, and ended his afternoon having allowed three runs (two earned).
“Harsh threw well, he kept us close enough to have an opportunity,” KSU head coach Mike Sansing said. About his team’s results at the plate,” Sansing added, “It definitely isn’t very offensive. It’s not the bunch we started out with.”
Due to the Owls’ inability to score any runs, Harsh picked up his first loss of the season, bringing his season record to 1-1. Gardner-Webb starter Andrew Barnett, who was brilliant as well, improved to 2-0, after pitching the full seven innings, and scattering seven hits; the Owls didn’t advance a baserunner past second base after the third inning.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs scored what turned out to be the winning runs in the second inning, which Harsh started off with back-to-back walks to. He nearly escaped this jam after retiring the next two batters, but the lineup now turned to the top of the order. A single to left field with two outs off of the bat of leadoff-man JJ Nazzaro, which drove in two, put the Owls behind for good. Gardner-Webb would later add an insurance run in the fifth, after a throwing error by second baseman Dylan Ivey continued the inning, and led to Bulldogs Henry Rundio scoring the final run of the contest.
Sophomore Kal Simmons saw the end of his seven game hit streak as he went 0-3 with a walk in the game. Also held hitless was freshman outfielder Justin Motley.
Max Pentecost continued his season-long hitting streak, now at eight, by reaching on a bunt single in the sixth. He also threw out another baserunner, his fifth of the season, in the fourth inning. “It’s nice to have Pentecost back there, he can shut some running games down”.
The Owls will attempt to split the series on Sunday afternoon, at 1 p.m., at Stillwell Stadium.