Spartans earn series split with Iowa Lakes

Frank Sanchez

WEATHERFORD, Okla. - The Southwestern baseball team picked up its first two wins of the season, splitting a four-game series with Iowa Lakes Sunday and Monday.

The series, which was originally slated to be played in Creston, was moved to Weatherford, Oklahoma, because of weather.

The Spartans opened the series with an 8-3 loss to Iowa Lakes on Sunday. Shortstop Frank Sanchez of Moca, Puerto Rico, was the lone batter to record multiple hits, knocking a double and a single in the loss with 2 RBIs. Elier Santana took the loss on the hill, throwing 3 2/3 innings and giving up two runs on three hits. Aaron Allsup threw 3 1/3 innings in relief with three strikeouts.

Sanchez came through in the clutch in the second game of the twinbill on Sunday, smacking a walkoff RBI double to give the Spartans a 3-2 win in nine innings. Sanchez finished 2-for-4 at the plate. Third baseman John Figueroa was 3-4 at the dish and catcher Cade Cox finished 2-3. Starting pitcher Dan Kenealy surrendered only two hits through 3 1/3 innings before giving way to Matt Smith, who struck out seven while throwing 3 2/3 no-hit innings. Quincy Collier struck out four over the final two innings to earn the win.

Southwestern started Monday's doubleheader with a 4-2 loss to Iowa Lakes. Raul Cosme finished 2-3 at the plate with a pair of doubles and one RBI, while Sanchez continued his hot series with a triple and an RBI. Gianpaul Torres threw 5 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out four, before giving way to Luis Diaz, who pitched the final 1 2/3 innings.

The Spartan bats heated up in a 7-6 win over Iowa Lakes to close out the four-game set on Monday. A five-run sixth-inning gave the Spartans a 7-2 lead and they were able to hold off a seventh-inning rally by Iowa Lakes for the win.

Figueroa finished 1-3 at the plate with a double, a pair of runs scored and three RBIs. Cox went 2-4 with a double and an RBI. Isaac Esquilin was 1-3 with a pair of runs scored and two stolen bases. Second baseman Brian Soto and designated hitter Jadriel Pantoja drove in one run apiece, with Pantoja knocking a double.

After surrendering two runs in the first inning, sophomore Ronnie Wiggington of Gladstone, Missouri, settled in and cruised through the next five innings before running into trouble again in the top of the seventh inning. Wiggington picked up the win, throwing 6 1/3 innings and striking out 11 compared to one walk. Jake Panich earned the save, finishing off the final two outs of the game to preserve the 7-6 win.

Southwestern sits at 2-6 overall and 2-2 in ICCAC play following the series. The Spartans are scheduled to travel to Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, for a doubleheader on Tuesday, March 19.