Scott Sebald made the most of his first start of his sophomore year, and it was at the expense of Bluefield College.
The 6-foot-5 left-hander threw a two-hitter for Lindsey Wilson College on Saturday afternoon at Bowen Field, going the distance in a 5-0 win by the visitors that gave them the weekend series against the Rams (19-6, 5-4 Mid-South), two games to one.
The Blue Raiders (15-14, 4-5) took the first game 7-6 in 11 innings.
Sebald only struck out three of the 23 batters he faced, but he had teammates to back him up.
“It’s great,” Sebald said. “You can go out there and pitch with ease, and know that they’re going to make all kinds of plays for you. ... They did a great job today.”
He had never thrown a no-hitter, but he and his defense sat down the first 14 batters.
Sebald said his thoughts were, “Just keep throwing the way I was throwing the whole time, and not to mess it up.”
Then Bluefield’s Daniel Copeland worked a full count against Sebald — the only time that happened on Saturday — and launched a grounder past second base. Leonardo Ramirez stretched to his right and got a glove on it, but the ball fell and Copeland was safe at first.
The close play was ruled a single.
Sebald said, “I just shook it off and knew I was going to finish it out.”
Zac Russell-Myers made that close ruling a moot point in the seventh by banging a clean double to left. Jacob Schober’s sacrifice fly got him to third, but Sebald induced a game-ending popout to Ramirez to preserve the shutout.
Lindsey Wilson head coach Jonathan Burton said Sebald “is just very composed for a sophomore.” The coach added, “Allowing him to make his first start of the year in a conference weekend, and put those kind of results up, really gives us a lot of hope for the future.”
Bluefield College head coach Mike White said about Sebald, “He did a good job. We hit a lot of balls hard; we just had one of those days where ‘you hit it at them.’
“One of the things we try to get our guys to do is to pride themselves on the quality ups (at bat), and we did that. Some days it goes your way, some days it doesn’t.”
The Rams got a complete outing from Ryan Shockey. He gave up three straight hits and two runs to start the game. But with the help of a couple of double plays, and after striking out three straight batters in the third, the score was still 2-0.
“I just wanted to keep it close,” he said. “We’ve been able to put up a lot of runs, real quick. (I wanted to) just keep them in the game, just go out there, throw strikes.”
The Blue Raiders added single runs in the next three innings.
Derek Shugart, who scored the final run, was 2 for 3 at bat and drove in two runs. Mitchell Osnowitz, Jordan Berry and Russ Morse also generated an RBI each.
Jacob Wright turned in a couple of sparkling plays in the field for the Rams. Racing from his post in right field, he slid several feet to make the first out of the fifth. In the final inning, he notched the third out with a high timed leap to catch a ball hit by Morse.
Ramirez was the defensive star for the Blue Raiders, stabbing a pair of grounders at the edge of his range and throwing the ball to first for outs.
Burton said, “Leo’s always been very solid with the glove for us, and has continued to do a good job in eliminating the big inning, because he makes some really tough plays. He’s been there for us, all year.”
After Friday’s 14-6 Bluefield win to open the series, in which the Rams had 17 hits, Saturday was an entirely different day. The first game was 2-2 after the first inning. The Rams tied the game 3-3 in the second and 5-5 in the sixth.
Bluefield’s Kahlin Villines blasted a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the ninth to forge a 6-6 tie and send the game to extra innings.
Jeandro Andino tallied what would be the game-winning score in the 11th. He led off the frame with a double to the left-field corner, reached third via a sacrifice bunt, and dashed home on a wild pitch. The Rams were unable to match that run in the bottom half.
White said about the back-and-forth first game, “It was fun. If you’re a college baseball fan, it was a great game to be at. It went both ways, and unfortunately, it didn’t go our way. Our kids competed hard. So did theirs. Some days it happens like that.”
“But you’ve got to like the effort that they put out there. That’s one thing we talk about: Our guys are going to come out and play hard. That’s kind of what we hang our hat on. They did a good job with that, and I’m proud of them for that.”
“That’s a lot of fun, when you win,” he said. “Even when you lose, though, it’s still fun, because that’s exactly what baseball should be played like — played hard, played very fast, and be aggressive at the plate and put pressure on defenses.”
“That’s exactly what that game was. Yesterday (Friday) had that same feel; the difference is, they (Bluefield) had big innings, so it got away from us a little bit.”
On Saturday, he said, “We pitched really well today, and we played good defense, and we hit well.”
“Bluefield’s got a really good team. ... They made it very difficult on us. Hopefully, coming here and winning two out of three against them ... will hopefully, allow us to move forward a little bit better and get our season going a little bit.”
“Over half our schedule’s been against teams in the preseason Top 25, so it’s prepared us for these games. I feel like, when we play on the weekends, we’re going to be battle tested.”
Friday was “a disappointing day” for him and his team, he said. “But they collected themselves, and did a good job of leading each other to get prepared, and come out and They played great today. The whole team was into it. It was a lot of fun.”
The Rams, who will play at Emory & Henry College on Tuesday, will move forward knowing that they played competitively with the Blue Raiders, No. 15 in NAIA baseball in last week’s rankings.
White said, “We’re right THERE. It’s part of the process, I understand that, but our guys need to understand, they’re right there. A break here or a break there and we’re 7-2 in the league right now, instead of 5-4.
“We understand that it’s a long season, and we really feel like we’ve got the right guys in the right place, and eventually, if we keep doing the right thing, it’ll work for us.”
— Contact Tom Bone at
At Bowen Field
Lind.Wilson....210 200 010 01 — 7 14 0
Bluefield.........211 001 001 00 — 6 10 2
Lindsey Wilson......200 111 0 — 5 10 0
Bluefield...............,.000 000 0 — 0 2 4
Scott Sebald and Russ Morse. Ryan Shockey and Tyler Lundgren. WP - Sebald. LP - Shockey. HR - none.