Seattle University Opens 2020 Season Versus Creighton University

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2020 Seattle University Redhawk’s baseball team.  (Photo by Phillip Allman)

Valentine’s Day 2020 loomed large for the Seattle University Redhawk’s Baseball season.  For many, this is a special day with their loved ones but that wasn’t the case for this young baseball squad coming off a dismal, but promising 2019 season.  The 2019 season was a struggle of some sorts for the Redhawks as they saw their season go south quick but thirteen valuable Freshmen gained enormous amounts of experience.  Seattle University was rewarded with an opening day match-up versus Big East powerhouse Creighton University.  The Creighton University Bluejays were coming off a 2019 season where they won the Big East title and the Big East tournament.  They entered the NCAA playoffs as a 2-seed, nearly winning the Corvallis regional (including beating 2018 national champions Oregon State University) before falling to Michigan.  For the Redhawks, this was a tough match-up to open the 2020 campaign after 2019’s debacle, but they were ready for the challenge as they went into their Valentine’s Day battle.

Game one was early Friday afternoon as both teams decided to play the first two games of the series that day due to possible rain.  2019 lefty breakout sensation Jarrod Billig took the hill for the Redhawks.  He pitched 4 solid innings, limiting the Bluejays to one run.  In fifth inning, he started to get tired as Creighton plated 6 runs to go up 7-0.  Four of the runs scored on walks by Billig and two other Redhawk pitchers.  A third Redhawk, pitcher Desmond Parisotto, came in to stop the bleeding but not after allowing two runs to score via the base hit.  The game would end after seven innings (because of the double header) with the Bluejays winning 7-0.  Seattle University would only secure 2 hits during the baseball game.  Freshman Dylan Gerard was the only Redhawk with an extra base hit (double) in the ballgame.

In the nightcap, Seattle University came to play.  They plated six runs in the first four innings to go up early 6-0.  Starting pitcher Ethan Christianson went five dominant innings.  The left-handed Sophomore gave up only 5 hits and struck out 6 Bluejays while walking only one batter; quite a thrilling performance from this young man.  Sophomore Alex Jemal pitched the next three innings and allowed one run.  Brandon Jenkins, Redhawks closer in the making, came in for the final inning giving up one run while striking out two batter.  The Redhawks would win game two 7-2 to even their record at 1-1 on the young season. Senior DH Nolan Jekich picked up his first hits as a Redhawk as he belted three hits with two RBIs.  Sophomore Kyle Sherick had his first two of the 2020 campaign (after an impressive rookie year where he led the team in most offensive categories).

Sunday afternoon, Sophomore Josh Thompson took the hill for the Redhawks.  After an ineffective two innings, he left the ballgame with the Redhawks down 3-1.  In innings three and four, the bats would come alive as Seattle University took a 4-3 lead.  Pitchers Alex Mcbee, Tyler Yeh and Alex Jemal would shut down the Bluejay bats.  Pitcher Brandon Jenkins would come out to pitch the 9th inning (after closing out the 8th) as he tried to close it out for his 1st Redhawk save.  Perhaps the nerves got to him as Brandon gave up two runs on two hits while walking two batters.  Desmond Parisotto came in to stop the bleeding as Creighton took a 5-4 lead to the bottom of the 9th inning.  Seattle University would fail to score and would see their record fall to 1-2.  The Redhawks would outhit the Bluejays 7-4 in the losing cause as Sophomore Julian Kodama would get two of those hits.

Opening Weekend Observations:

  • If you read this article one might see a theme here, “Sophomore”. This team is young, and the Sophomores made a big contribution this past weekend against one of the top teams in the Big East Conference.  Expect to see lots of contributions from top to bottom this year because this team is loaded.  Seattle University was picked to finish 7th in the W.A.C. this season.  If I were a betting man, this year’s record could be a huge flip from last year’s losing record.  Redhawk Nation, we have something to look forward to this 2020 season.
  • The number 17, that is 17 walks in the two losses. This has to decrease dramatically for the Redhawks to have success.  Let’s blame it on opening weekend jitters against the defending Big East Champions and move forward.
  • There is a significant amount of returning starters to the ball club that weren’t mentioned in this article. Just wait til those players get going!  Who am I talking about?  I guess you will have to wait to find out.  Even better, come to the ballpark when they return home on February 28th against the University of Pacific.

The Redhawks go on the road to play UC Riverside this Wednesday night in Riverside, California before heading to San Diego this coming weekend where they will face off against USC, San Diego and Southern Illinois.  It should be a fun road trip for our beloved Seattle University Redhawks.

Together We Soar!

Brian Solack

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