Amarillo College baseball blasts Trinidad State in weekend sweep

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Amarillo College shortstop Jan Avila (8) celebrates after hitting a home run against Trinidad State on Sunday at Hodgetown. [Nathan Heuer/ AC athletics]

By Nathan Heuer 

With conference play on the horizon, the Amarillo College baseball team continued their record-setting start to the season behind an offense and pitching staff that ranks amongst the top units in the country.

Amarillo College needed only 17 innings to score 49 runs en route to a three-game series sweep against Trinidad State on Saturday and Sunday at Hodgetown.

The Badgers win streak extended to 10 games over the weekend.

Amarillo College head coach Brandon Rains credited his team’s play in the field and on the hill for their consistent success.

“It starts on the mound and our defense is playing so well, almost every single game. As long as you pitch and play defense, you give yourself a chance to win every time,” he said.

Badger starting pitchers Gabe Watson, Randall graduate Duncan Bowles, and Bret Deegan claimed victories for the second consecutive week.

Bowles and Deegan kept their records spotless at 4-0 after the freshman hurlers put forth a pair of dominant outings on Sunday.

Bowles gave up no earned runs for the second time this season during game two.

“He flat out gets after it.,” Rains said. “He can throw three to four strikes at any point in the count. You can’t say enough about his command of all those pitches. That’s a recipe for success when you’re a high-level competitor.”

Deegan provided an encore during game three of the series.

The righty recorded 10 strikeouts for the second straight outing in four innings of work.

“He has good velocity on his fastball and good command on the breaking ball. He’s always ahead in the count and works quick,” Rains noted.

At the plate, the Badgers hit seven home runs and had nine batters finish the series with at least a .500 batting average.

Sydney Ward, Jan Avila, Gerardo Prado, David De Hoyos, Cam Saleh, Grant Watkins, and Deegan tallied one home run apiece against the Trojans – moving the team’s total to 23 through 15 contests.

Rains explained the recipe for his team’s potency at the plate.

“We have a good, disciplined approach at the plate. They won’t try to do too much. They get up there and try to back spin baseballs,” he said. “They manage the strike zone very well and when you do all those things, the home runs are going to happen.”

AC’s record sits at 12-3 heading into Tuesday’s matinee at Hodgetown against the Wayland Baptist University junior varsity squad.

The standalone game is scheduled to get underway at 2 p.m.

The Badgers will then hit the road for their conference-opening series against Frank Phillips College on Friday and Saturday in Borger. The pair of doubleheaders have noon start times each day.

Amarillo College enters the sixth week of the 2024 season with the sixth-highest batting average (.360) and slugging percentage (.622) at the NJCAA Division I level.

The pitching staff ranks 14th in ERA (3.47) and 19th in strikeouts per nine innings.

Game 1

The Badgers took a 6-0 lead in the second inning and plated another six runs in the seventh to conclude the series opener via a 15-5 run-rule stoppage.

AC tallied a season-best 17 hits, highlighted by Deegan’s three-run homer in the seventh frame.

Payton Bush, De Hoyos, and Luis Gonzalez led the team with three hits each.

Watson improved his record to 2-2 on the mound. The Purdue University baseball commit recorded eight strikeouts, walked seven, and allowed three earned runs over four innings.

Freshman Noah Turner struck out three batters and allowed one earned run during the final three innings of the contest.

Plainview graduate Isaac Garza and Randall graduate Payton Bush express joy after Saturday’s 15-5 victory against Trinidad St. [Nathan Heuer/ AC Athletics]

Game 2

Amarillo College’s single game scoring record was at 21 to begin Sunday – a mark the Badgers accomplished in the first game of their inaugural season.

That number moved to 22 following a contest that featured four home runs, three triples, and two doubles for AC.

The Badgers had a 16-0 lead ensuing an 11-run second inning.

De Hoyos and Watkins hit back-to-back home runs in the second frame to propel AC’s offensive outburst.

Saleh added his first homer of 2024 in the fourth frame. Aidan Young, JP Hinojosa, and Ward added one triple each.

On the hill, Bowles struck out two batters, walked two, allowed one hit, and gave up no earned runs over three innings.

Colton Klemke closed the game with two strikeouts, two walks, and one earned run allowed.

Game 3

Deegan set the tone on the mound from the get-go, and the Badgers offense followed suit to close the series on Sunday at Hodgetown.

Avila hit his second home run of the season and freshman infielder Zyon Hamilton recorded the first homer of his career.

Ward led the team at the plate with three hits and a double. De Hoyos and Prado finished the game with one triple each.

Deegan allowed one hit, one earned run, and four walks to go along with his 10 strikeouts.

 

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