Blinn baseball falls to Wharton in conference opener, 4-3

WHARTON, Texas — Blinn College baseball (6-2, 0-1) fell just short of pushing the conference opener into extra innings against Wharton County Junior College before falling, 4-3, Thursday night. 

The Buccaneers tallied 11 hits with Cameron Gibbons, Alec Sanchez, Brett Minninch and Blake Faecher leading the offense with two hits each. 

Jacob Millender gave the Buccaneers a chance for the win on the mound, throwing five innings and surrendering three runs, while striking out six. 

Wharton jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the third inning and held it until Blinn evened the score in the fifth inning. After Jake Miller led off the inning with a single and got into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, two clutch extra-base hits allowed Blinn to tie the game. Reggie McCalister drove in the first run with a triple, while Gibbons batted him in with a double. 

Wharton took back a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Blinn hurried to level the score in the top of the sixth when Faecher hit a solo home run to lead off the inning. 

Wharton grabbed back a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Buccaneers had opportunities to come back, but left the bases loaded in the seventh inning and two stranded in the ninth inning.

Blinn will return home to conclude the three-game conference series against Wharton on Saturday, Feb. 23, with a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. at Leroy Dreyer Field. 

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 38 NJCAA national championships since 1987.