Bulldogs Baseball Gets Off to 5-2 Start
Bellevue College Baseball has gotten off to a solid 5-2 start to open the 2011 season. The Bulldogs swept Lower Columbia in Longview by scores of 9-8 and 5-4. In front of scouts representing 19 major league ball clubs who were in attendance to watch Lower Columbia pitcher Jeff Ames, Bellevue’s offensive lineup got noticed quickly by scoring four runs off Ames, who has been named as one of the nation’s top junior college pitchers. For the game, Bellevue’s new transfers, outfielders Andy Smith and Kyle Conwell popped out home runs along with returner Kyle Johnson and freshman Jerad Casper. In game two, Jake Collier, whose last game was a complete-game 4-0 over Lower Columbia last May at the NWAACC Championships, continued his momentum by striking out seven without giving up a hit in four innings of relief work in the 5-4 win.
The following day, Sunday March 6, Bellevue split a doubleheader against Green River losing 3-2 before winning the nightcap 6-2. Although the visiting team on the scoreboard, the games were played at home at Courter Field due to unplayable conditions at Green River’s home field. Johnson homered again in game two while Andy Smith had two hits as well. Tyler Manke scattered three hits through six innings of work for the win.
On Tuesday March 8, Bellevue travelled to Yakima Valley and swept another doubleheader on the road by scores of 13-5 and 7-2. The Bulldogs popped out six home runs on the day. Conwell led the hitting spree with four hits along with Johnson who hit his third homer of the year. Tyler Baumgartner and Dan Schmidt, who had three hits, also homered. After giving up four unearned runs (via three errors) in the first inning, Casper settled in for the win on the mound. In game two, Tyler Cox, Andy Smith, and Casper all hit homers as Scott Kuzminsky was stellar in relief. Entering with the bases loaded and no outs in the 5th inning, Kuzminsky pitched four shutout innings to earn the win over the highly-touted Yaks, who won 35 games last year and are expected to be front-runners from the East Region for the NWAACC Championships.
On Saturday March 12, after enduring a 3 hour rain delay, the Bulldogs and host Tacoma Titans played one nine-inning game with Tacoma holding on for a 7-6 win. It was Tacoma’s first game of the year. The Bulldogs were stale out of the gate after sitting in the dugout from 10am to 3pm for five hours waiting for the rain to stop. Bellevue spotted the Titans a 7-1 lead after two innings then rallied but fell short at the end. Nick Smith and Conwell continued their hot hitting with two hits apiece.
Bellevue’s play has been solid considering they only have eleven healthy bodies this pre-season. The offense has also shown its veteran leadership with 12 home runs in the first week. The team total after one week has already exceeded the team high last year. Bellevue’s next games will be a home doubleheader against Pierce College on Saturday March 19 at noon.
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