After dropping back-to-back games this week, the Crowder Roughriders were itching to get back on the diamond and back into the win column when they hosted Mineral Area Community College on Military Appreciation Night at Roughrider Field on Saturday.
After the Roughriders began the night by honoring the men and women who have served the United States, they treated their fans to a sweep in the doubleheader 8-4 and 3-0.
Game two shaped into an absolute pitchers duel between Mineral Area’s Jeff King and Crowder’s Jon Woodcock. Both hurlers went eight innings on the mound, and entering the eighth King and Woodcock had each allowed just two hits in a scoreless game.
But despite being shut down by King for the first seven, the Roughriders struck in the eighth when sophomore Sam May, who signed with Southern University in Baton Rouge, Miss., on Friday, lined a double to left field with one out to set up a big inning. May was lifted for pinch-runner Mak Monckton, who scored on Ryan Lazo’s single to center to make it 1-0.
Cody Althouse followed with his first hit of the game, a double to left to score Lazo from first and make it 2-0. Chris Scroggins then reached on an error and Althouse came in with the third and final run.
That put Woodcock in line for the win after allowing no runs on three hits with nine strikeouts and no walks in eight innings. Closer Andrew Schwaab came on for the ninth and ensured the victory with a scoreless inning to pick up the save.
“Huge double by May stepping up in a big time situation,” Crowder coach Travis Lallemand said. “He’s done that a lot for us. Lazo in a two-strike at bat shooting one up the middle and from there it was the execution game.”
Lazo had two hits in the game, while May, Lucas Feddersen and Althouse each had one.
The Roughriders didn’t wait around as long in game one to get their offense going. They scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning when C.J. Webster smashed a double to center with the bases loaded to drive in three runs. The Cardinals would push across single runs in each of the first, third and fourth innings to tie the game 3-3.
Crowder, however, got going again in the fourth. Webster led the inning off with a walk and Feddersen doubled to put runners at second and third with no outs. Jordan Dey then lined a single to center to score both runners and went to second on the throw to the plate. Lazo knocked Dey in with a single to make it 7-3 and later scored on a sac fly by Chris Scroggins to make it 8-3.
Page 2 of 2 - “We came out and pitched really well and gave ourselves a chance,” Lallemand said referencing both games.
Chris Caudle, who, like May, signed with his future college on Friday, the University of Central Arkansas, started on the mound and limited the damage to three earned runs on 10 hits in five innings. He struck out seven and walked one. Southpaw Trey Watson also had a good outing as he tossed two scoreless frames and struck out two to earn the save.
“It started out like it was going to be a struggle all day in the first inning, and Caudle stepped up and held them to one run in a situation that could have gotten out of hand,” Lallemand said. “The day kind of fed off of that.”
Dey and Matt Burgess both had two hits in game one. Althouse, Tony Sandifer, Webster, Feddersen and Lazo each had a hit in the victory.
Crowder (34-10) hosts the Cardinals in another doubleheader today to conclude the series. Game one will be a seven-inning affair and game two is slated for nine innings.