The call was returned.
After falling short in Friday night’s 10-8 comeback effort, a collective offensive outing and timely yet unorthodox pitching lifted the Dawgs to a 7-3 victory on Saturday night against the Bulls in Western Canadian Baseball League action.
Point University pitcher Billy Brand started the game for the Dawgs. A traditional closer, he got the nod to lead his team off on the right foot in place for the de-facto starter, UBC hurler Jared Spearing.
After Brand’s opening three innings, Spearing took over in the middle and vital innings that gave the offence the hold-off it needed to ignite the Dawgs who took over the game.
Spearing turned the switch on after giving Lethbridge a two-run lead in the fourth and retired nine consecutive batters to end his four-inning appearance in which he fanned four batters.
Head coach Mitch Schmidt explained the rather uncommon pitching approach.
“It took the pressure of Spearing of starting another long game. He pitched around 80 innings in school this past year so we gave him a fresher look on the game. His game spoke for itself, he picked apart the batters he wanted and pitched three shutout when we needed it most,” he said.
Despite the Dawgs (15-5) being down 3-1 early to the Bulls (11-9) in the fourth, a resilient mindset and lack of urgency ignited the offence.
Texas State infielder Will Hollis led the way with three-RBIs on the night with his clutch hitting in the fifth and sixth inning that corresponded with Spearing’s lights out performance as he pitched three straight shutout innings to end his night.
“He had some ‘ABs’ where the pitcher just pitched the perfect pitch. His attitude was the same. Will was caught looking for a strikeout then came back with his RBIs so we know he’ll always be a threat for us,” Schmidt said on the performance of his power hitter.
“You’re always aware of the situation,” Hollis said on the impact of his at-bats.
“I always want to drive hits hard up the middle and it worked out today.”
Linn Benton Community College outfielder Jacob Melton drove in Okotoks’ first two runs before a three-run fifth inning turned the tide for the Dawgs.
With no outs and the bases loaded, Hollis wired a come-back ball off the mound and drove a run in to keep the bases loaded.
Bellevue University infielder Riley Baasch gave the Dawgs their first lead on a sac-fly before the University of Houston third baseman Bret Esau cleverly dodged a tag at home plate during a rundown Hollis was caught in.
The McKinnie, Texas native followed up with a rocket of a two-run RBI double that almost cleared the 400-foot sign in the centre field of Seaman Stadium during his next at-bat in the bottom of the sixth to put the game out of reach.
Okotoks’ bullpen took over after the seventh and did not surrender a hit for the last five innings.
The Dawgs close out the last of the three-game set Sunday at home against the Lethbridge Bulls with the first pitch of the rubber match set for 2:05 p.m.