Lindenwood baseball drops first two home games of 2023 [Photo Gallery]


Photo by Joshua Calloni

Third baseman Ethan Abercrombie falls to his left after making a diving stop for a ball in a game against the Minnesota State University – Mankato on Feb. 26.

Joshua Calloni, Sports Editor

Lindenwood’s baseball team kicked off its home portion of the inaugural Division One season this past weekend, doing so by playing a doubleheader against the Minnesota State University Mankato Mavericks.
The Lions ended up dropping both games, losing the first 7-1 and the second 3-1.
“Doubleheaders are certainly a long day at the office for the players when you also consider batting practice prior to games,” Head coach Doug Bletcher said. “It’s part of our game in college baseball with two 9-inning games which can be six hours of play or more.”
In the first game of the twin bill, Lindenwood played from behind early, as the Mavericks’ lead-off man, Ryan Wickman, hit a home run in the third inning, off of Lions starting pitcher Preston Salazar. The Mavericks scored again in the fifth, as left fielder Brock Johnson singled in a run. Before being removed from the game, Salazar allowed another home run, to shortstop Aiden Byrne. For the day, Salazar pitched five innings, allowed three runs, and struck out three hitters.
The Lions scored their lone run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, as junior Ethan Abercrombie singled in senior Joe Copeland. As a team, the Lions only mustered three hits against Mavericks pitching, which was led by starting pitcher Nathen Culley, who pitched seven innings and struck out seven batters.
The Mavericks scored four more runs in the top of the ninth, which put the score at 7-1, which was how the game ended. Two of those runs came on a single by Byrne, who totaled three runs batted in, and two hits in the game.
Roughly 25 minutes later, the teams squared off again for the second of two games on the day. Despite losing the game, the Lions had a much better showing all around. Starting pitcher Eli Brown pitched seven innings, and struck out 12 batters, only allowing five hits, and two runs to score, both of which came in the fifth inning.
Of note, two of the three Minnesota runs scored by way of the balk, one from Brown, and another from reliever Easton Rakers.
As for the Lions’ offense, the team actually out-hit the Mavericks, knocking seven hits to Minnesota’s six. Leading that charge was sophomore Dawson Hokuf and junior Tyson Ludwig, who had two hits each. The lone run of the game was driven in by junior Marcus Heusohn, who hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to score Ludwig.
“Again, Doubleheaders early in the year present a learning curve for our guys so if any of our guys didn’t think they were at their peak concentration and energy level late in game two this past weekend, it’s time to take an introspective look at themselves on how they can improve the process the next time we play a Double Header,” Bletcher said.
The Lions now hit the road for a five-game road trip, featuring a single game against the University of Missouri in Columbia, and a four-game set against Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, played in Texas. The team’s next home game is scheduled for March 7 against St. Louis University, with the first pitch slated for 6 p.m. that evening.