(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS – Starting pitcher Dylan Barkley tossed six scoreless innings and the Montana State University Billings bats came alive again in a 10-3 win over Colorado School of Mines Sunday afternoon at Pirtz Field. The Yellowjackets swept the three-game series against the Orediggers and combined for 42 runs on the weekend. Chris Arpan and Nate Bloxham hit home runs Sunday to bring MSUB’s weekend long ball total to 12. Andrew Schleusner and Daniel Cipriano also posted multi-hit games and the ‘Jackets scored five runs in the fifth inning to pull away.
“Barkley had an outstanding outing for us today,” said head coach Derek Waddoups. “Then Heward and Dietrich came in and made life simple for all of us in the later innings. I have to credit Ryan Roche for coming up with a couple web gems for us in the field. Offensively, we just took good at bats early and balls fell our way.”
The left-handed sophomore Barkley (1-0) racked up seven strikeouts in his second start of the season and allowed three earned runs over 7.0 innings to earn the win for MSUB. Meanwhile, MSUB’s hitters scored runs in four straight innings beginning in the second. Tanner Cantwell walked with one out and Schleusner doubled to put both in scoring position. Will Riley grounded out to second to record a run batted in and a 1-0 lead.
“I felt when Cantwell went first to third really changed the game,” Waddoups said. “That first run was important to put some pressure on and after scratching out the first run, we were able to get a home run the next inning.”
The ‘Jackets did more damage in the third. With two outs, Bloxham singled to centerfield and stole second. Cipriano lined a pitch past shortstop Caden Bonds and Bloxham scored. Arpan followed with a sky-high home run to right field.
Riley singled in a run in the fourth. Then the ‘Jackets sent 10 men to the plate in the fifth and scored five runs on six hits. The rally included a double by Wyatt Setian, a two-run home run by Bloxham, and a double by Tanner Cantwell.
Barkley continued to cruise with a 10-0 advantage until the top of the sixth. Alex Bumpus singled to right field with two outs. Then Caden Bonds crossed the plate with an inside the park home run. Bonds took Barkley’s pitch to the gap in right center field and Sam Powers came up empty on his diving attempt to catch it. The ball rolled 403 feet to the wall and Bonds beat an off-target throw home by several feet. Barkley got Derek Daly to fly out to limit the damage in the sixth and allowed a leadoff home run to Nate Kuzma in the seventh. Then he sat down three straight to end the inning before Will Heward came in to pitch in relief.
“Today was just all about throwing strikes,” Barkley said. “Coach Hape has been all about making sure you stay in the zone and control the zone and the outs will come. Then you can let the defense play behind you because of the confidence we have in ourselves.”
Heward faced four men in a scoreless eighth. Then Cort Dietrich cleaned up the ninth after allowing the first two men to reach base safely as the Yellowjackets won 10-3. Ben Schoneman (0-1) suffered the loss for Colorado School of Mines and pitched 4.0 innings with eight earned runs, nine hits, one walk, and two strikeouts. Alex Bumpus led CSM with two hits.
MSU Billings has scored 10 or more runs in five of its first 10 outings and each of the previous three. Daniel Cipriano led MSUB against Colorado Mines with six hits, eight runs scored, one double, three home runs, three walks, and 12 runs batted in. Cipriano also hit a grand slam on Saturday.
“Stringing at bats together and putting good at bats together was our focus this weekend. The wins this week gives us a lot of confidence moving forward. The GNAC schedule is a grind. It always is but we’re excited to compete against some conference teams.
The Yellowjackets doubles the Orediggers hit total with 12. MSU Billings (8-2) begins conference play with Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon Saturday, February 29 at 12 p.m. for a doubleheader and a four game series.
THE BUZZ: Dylan Barkley was named St. Vincent Healthcare player of the game.