BRENHAM, Texas — The Blinn College baseball team (11-5, 3-2) split a doubleheader with Galveston College to open a four-game conference series at Leroy Dreyer Field on Thursday.
After falling to Galveston in the first game, 6-4, the Buccaneers bounced back to shutout the Whitecaps, 6-0.
"We have been wanting to start Dylan Theut and felt like he would really give us a chance in this series and he couldn't have been any better," said Harvey McIntyre, Blinn head coach. "The longer he threw, the better he got, which was huge for us. Our swings were really good in the second game and it was a good way to finish the day."
Galveston 6 – Blinn 4
The Buccaneers scored two runs in the sixth inning and loaded the bases in the final inning to fight back, but came up just short, 6-4, in the series opener.
Gavin LaBruyere was solid on the mound, surrendering just two earned runs and no walks in six innings, while Blane Romero only allowed one hit in one inning of relief for Blinn. However, Galveston scored six unearned runs.
The Buccaneers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Westley Schields led off with a walk and scored on Kam Kelton's single. However, Galveston tied the game up in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homerun.
The Whitecaps took off with a 4-1 lead in the third inning when one run scored on an error, one run scored on a sacrifice fly, and one run scored on a single.
Blinn cut Galveston's lead in half after Kelton and Homniok led off with back-to-back singles in the fourth inning, and Kelton scored on Russell's sacrifice fly.
Galveston extended its lead to 6-2 on a one-run single and an error in the fifth inning.
Blinn began to rally in the sixth inning with two runs. An error on Galveston landed Homniok on first base and he scored on Russell's second sacrifice fly of the game. Nick Wolff walked and scored Blinn's final run on a wild pitch.
The Buccaneers continued to fight in the seventh inning as Kelton and Schields singled and Brett Minnich was hit by a pitch to load the bases. However, they were left stranded as Galveston struck out the final two batters in the inning.
Blinn 6 – Galveston 0
Dylan Theut was phenomenal in his first start of the season as Blinn shutout Galveston, 6-0.
Theut dealt against the Whitecaps, allowing one hit and striking out 10 in 6 1/3 innings.
"My curveball was working pretty good as far as swing and miss rates go, and the guys behind me made some good plays," Theut said. "Our bullpen has been lights out and everyone who has come out of the pen this year has done their job. It feels easy handing it off to them because you know they have it."
Theut handed the ball off to AJ Irvin, who pitched 1 2/3 innings and only surrendered two hits, while striking out two. Grant Wood pitched the final inning and only allowed one hit, while posting two strikeouts.
Minnich, Jack Schell, and Homniok led Blinn's offense in hits. Minnich totaled three, while Schell and Homniok each tallied two. Schell, Schields, Minnich, Preston Hoffart, and Dalton Davis each drove in one run.
"In the first game, we struggled to put some things together, so in the second game we simplified our approach and got on the board early," Schell said. "When you have a pitching staff that deals every outing, it takes a lot of pressure off the offense and makes games more winnable. The pitching was unbelievable tonight."
Blinn came up with a four-run second inning to take an early lead. After walking, Russell scored on an error, while Homniok, who singled, scored on Hoffart's sacrifice bunt. Wolff drew a walk and scored on a triple off the bat of Schields, and Schields scored on a one-run single by Schell.
Blinn kept a 4-0 lead until Minnich hit a solo home run in the seventh inning. Davis scored the Buccaneers' final run on a solo homer in the eighth inning.
Next, Blinn and Galveston will close out the four-game conference series with a doubleheader in Galveston on Saturday, Feb. 29, starting at 2 p.m.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 41 NJCAA national championships since 1987.