Tonight at 6:30, Austin Stone will take the mound against unbeaten Dallas Baptist. After the opening weekend, both the Bears and the Patriots find themselves undefeated and playing very good baseball. The Patriots swept Monmouth University with a run differential of 26 runs (28-2). Their bullpen only gave up one earned run in 11.1 innings of work.
A MASH unit of Bears limped into the weekend but quickly found their footing against a very good Friday night pitcher in Cal Poly's Casey Bloomquist, and the offense was very productive all weekend. As I mentioned in the piece after game one, Baylor had very good at bats, and that continued throughout the series culminating in a 6-0 victory to complete the sweep. Despite falling behind at times, each game felt like Baylor's game to lose. The Bears played with a lot of confidence and poise.
On the Mound
Under normal circumstances, a true freshman like Theron Kay would make his debut against a mid-week opponent. However, due to Kuntz' recovery and Austin Stone's tendonitis, he was thrust into weekend duty. He was outstanding working out of trouble and maintaining his composure in impressive fashion. That makes perfect sense though considering that in addition to being an outstanding pitcher, he is literally a composer with the soundtrack to Snoop & Son: A Dad's Dream to his credit. I was impressed with him Sunday. When I learned more about his story, I was blown away.
These are not normal circumstances, and Austin Stone, one of our regular weekend guys will take the mound against DBU's potent offense. I would expect Smith to be cautious with Stone tonight, but it should provide some insight into how well he matches up with good offenses. The Patriots made a regional appearance last year, and they exploded this past weekend. Tonight's game will have a different feel than most mid-week games, at least to me as I continue to be intrigued by the 2015 version of the Bears.
Patriots to watch
Sophomore centerfielder David Martinelli hit .400 over the opening weekend with 2 HR and 3 RBI. Camden Duzenack led the Patriots with 5 RBI over the opening weekend. He also led them in 2014 in total batting average en route to being named a Freshman All-American. Chane Lynch, hit .500 over the opening weekend. The Patriots will most likely start Jay Calhoun (2014: 0-0, 7.56 ERA, 16.2 IP, 7 BB, 13 K).
Bears to Watch
Darryn Sheppard is doing a great job of setting the table at the top of the order with a .500 on-base percentage and 4 runs scored. Seniors Logan Brown and Adam Toth are driving in the bulk of the runs with 6 and 5 RBI respectively. Cameron Miller has been turning in a very gutty performance so far as the redshirt freshman is hitting .375 with a .583 on-base percentage while nursing a bit of a tweaked groin.
And obviously, we will be watching Stone very closely as he makes his first start of 2015.
The pitching matchup looks to favor the Bears, but DBU will come in tonight extremely confident having enjoyed recent success against the Bears and coming off of a strong weekend of their own. When I was a really young kid, two of the best baseball players I ever saw play at my high school ended up going to DBU. Ever since, I have considered DBU to be a great baseball school. True to my perceptions, they have been consistently very strong over the years. I expect tonight to be an extremely competitive matchup.
Let's use this as a game thread. Also, my apologies. I failed to share the opening season video previously, but I used it here. You could hear the confidence going into the series with Cal Poly. I am interested to know if that carries over.