Austin Giannola tags out a Williams Baptist baserunner during Park's doubleheader sweep of the Eagles March 17.
PARKVILLE, Mo. – Shayne Kirkwood piled up five hits and Park University got dominant pitching performances from Derek Watkins and Tanner Swisher, Friday afternoon, claiming two games from Williams Baptist College at Comfort Field, winning 3-2 in walkoff fashion before pulling away for a 7-3 win in game two, improving to 14-7 (7-1 AMC), while Williams fell to 9-15, 1-11 in league games.
The wins put Park alone in second place in the American Midwest Conference after losses by both William Woods and Harris-Stowe on Friday. Watkins collected his second-straight complete game, charged only with a pair of unearned runs that tied the game in the fifth inning. Watkins struck out eight and walked one.
The Pirates had runs in the second and third on a pair of extra-base hits. Nicolas Codemo doubled to left in the second when Williams left fielder Kagen Smith lost the ball in the sun, scoring David White, and in the third, John Lozano Jr. came home on an unearned run after reaching on an error, scoring on Kirkwood's triple to right center.
Nick Scott and Seth Hart answered with run-scoring hits for the Eagles in the fifth, bringing starter Dalton Freshour back in play for a winning decision after a Park error kept the inning alive, but Freshour gave up the final run in the seventh, when courtesy runner Luke Rattenne scored on Weston Jacobs' game-ending sacrifice fly.
Freshour's loss dropped his record to 1-3, while Watkins improved to 3-2. Both teams needed to dig deeper in to the pitching staff in game two, combining to use eight pitchers – four on each side – including Swisher, for Park, who went four innings, with one baserunner, to improve to 1-1 on the year. Ricardo Quintero took the Williams Baptist loss, going only an inning after starter Garrett Shaffer couldn't get out of the Park fourth.
Kirkwood was 3-for-5 in the game, scoring twice, and his RBI came in the third inning, reaching on a fielder's choice that brought in Tim Schaareman. Park's lead didn't last, though, as Williams Baptist came up with three runs in the next half inning, including RBI singles from Cody Conn and Ryan Cupp to make it 3-1.
The Pirates got one back in their half of the fourth when Schaareman's sacrifice fly scored Rattenne, and in the fifth, the Pirates took the lead back from the Eagles, beginning when Codemo walked with the bases loaded to bring in Kirkwood, followed by another sac fly, this time from Rafael Torrees-Castillo, to make it 4-3.
Park broke the game open in the sixth inning, getting RBIs from White and Lozano, as well as a double-steal executed by Lozano and Cole Doherty to make it 7-3.
Carlos Valencia shut the door on the four-run win in a non-save situation, pitching a perfect ninth inning. Conn reached base three times in game two, going 1-for-3, while Hart was 2-for-4. Conn was also 2-for-4 and reached on an error, while Scott was 3-for-4 with an RBI.
"Thought we were very fortunate to win in game one, because it was not a well-played game," said Park coach Cary Lundy. "Credit that one to Derek Watkins keeping us in position to win. We executed better in game two and took advantage of a couple of their mistakes. We will have to be better tomorrow if we want to sweep the series."
Park and Williams meet for a final game Saturday at noon, at Comfort Field, airing on the Pirate Sports Network at www.parkathletics.tv.