Purples roll past Raiders in series opener
An all-around offensive performance and a successful pitching outing by Jackson Haga led the Bowling Green baseball team to an 11-2 win over Warren East in the series opener between the two sides on Monday evening at Harold J. Stahl Field.
The Purples (17-9 overall, 5-2 District 14), who finished with 10 hits on the night, led 1-0 after three innings before scoring five runs in the fourth and five more in the fifth to build the 11-2 advantage and didn’t look back.
“It took us a little bit to get going tonight,” Bowling Green coach Nathan Isenberg said. “I don’t know what that was. So hopefully we’ve got a little confidence and had some success tonight (after getting going) and that can carry over.”
While Maddox Burr and Bo Morton each registered multi-hit outings, Burr also drove in a pair of RBI. Defensively, Haga — a Liberty signee — allowed just two runs on three hits while recording 13 strikeouts in six innings of work.
Louisville signee Ryan Hawks led the way for Warren East (9-16, 4-6) with a pair of RBI.
“I didn’t feel my best tonight, but I battled through it,” Haga said. “I let my defense do their job behind me and the rest took care of itself.”
After an inning-and-a-half of scoreless baseball, Bowling Green broke through in the bottom of the second. With runners on the corners after a pair of singles from Morton and Carson Kelly, Burr laid down a single of his own to score Morton and put the Purples up 1-0 after two complete innings.
Bowling Green unloaded for five runs in the fourth.
“I saw some guys kinda break out of many slumps that they had, and that was really good to see,” Isenberg said. “We talked to the guys about having quality at-bats and don’t watch the batting average — focus on the little things of getting on base, making hard contact, moving runners — and the hits will drop. I think tonight was a great example of that.”
After Geoffrey Ross and Morton both singled, Carson Kelly sent a deep, high-flying ball to centerfield — which was misplayed by a pair of Raider outfielders and fell on the ground — and a pair of runners crossed the plate to make it 3-0.
An RBI single from Burr just after made it 4-0, and Burr soon scored on a wild pitch followed by a sacrifice flyout by Eli Burwash to make it 6-0 Purples entering the fifth.
“That’s a confidence booster,” Burr said. “Knowing that they committed the errors and gave us runs shows us that we didn’t do our best, so we can do better and get more runs and just keep pounding.”
Warren East responded in the top half of the fifth, using a two-run single from Hawks to get within 6-2. With Bo Yoakem and Nolan Ford both on, Hawks made contact with a pitch from Haga and sent it into the outfield to plate both runners and scratch the Raiders’ goose egg off the board.
Leading 6-2, the Purples put together another five-run frame in the bottom of the fifth to build an 11-2 advantage and put Warren East away.
“We’ve found a way to lose a lot this year,” Warren East coach Wes Sanford said. “We’ve gotta clean it up. If we’re gonna be a good team, you can’t make those kind of mistakes against a good team. You’ve gotta make the plays that are given to you. We’ve really had some bad days where we’ve just not made a play — and that happened tonight.
“Just self-inflicted wounds really bad. You can’t do that against a good team.”
Game 2 of the three-game set is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Raider Ballpark.