CARTHAGE, Texas -- Despite not playing in nine days, there was no rust and no slow start for the Blinn baseball team here Monday.
The Buccaneers just wanted to play baseball.
And did they ever.
The Bucs pieced together an eight-run first inning, including a grand slam by Cullen Gassaway, against Panola and swept the Ponies 12-4 and 3-2. Blinn has won four straight.
“That’s the important thing,” Blinn (27-20) coach Harvey McIntyre said. “We’re just a few games behind Galveston in the conference and a game up on San Jacinto, so it’s all in our hands how we finish up the rest of the season.”
Blinn had six straight hits to open the doubleheader and kept the scoring. By the time Panola found the scoreboard in the bottom of the third, Blinn had built a 9-0 lead. And the Bucs continued to pile the runs on with a solo home run by Cullen Jozwiak and a Panola error that led to two runs.
Freshman Caden Williams was 3-for-3 with two runs scored, Nolan Brown was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and Stephen Stuart was 2-for-5 with three RBI that came off a three-run double in the first.
“That was great to see that we kept scoring and didn’t sit on our early lead,” McIntyre said.
Freshman starter Christian Thames tossed 2 2-3 innings, allowing one earned run while striking out and walking four. Ryan Skoruppa tossed 3 2-3 innings and allowed one run on one hit.
After Panola took a 2-0 first-inning lead in Game 2, Blinn responded with a three-run second that saw Hunter Lehman and Jozwiak bring in a run after getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. A Jose Reyes flyout scored Thames to give the Bucs the advantage.
Sophomore Cole Doherty, who tossed 2 1-3 innings of relief, worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the bottom of the second that allowed Blinn to hang on to its lead.
“That was huge,” McIntyre said. “Cole pitched a great game tonight.”
Doherty allowed two hits and struck out and walked one.
The Blinn bullpen allowed just three hits in 5 1-3 innings and struck out four.
The Bucs return to Region XIV Conference play Thursday in Pasadena with a 4 p.m. doubleheader against San Jacinto. Blinn leads San Jacinto by one game in the conference standings.
“It’s going to be a tight race to end the season,” McIntyre said. “It’s good to have some momentum moving forward.”
For more information on Blinn baseball, visit www.buccaneersports.com.