The Bob Jones University Bruins baseball teams played in their inaugural home games on Saturday afternoon as the team welcomed Montreat College for a doubleheader. Nearly 1,000 fans came to watch the Bruins as the team kicked off the program on a beautiful afternoon at Conestee Park in Greenville, South Carolina. Unfortunately, the Bruins dropped both games with a 9-1 loss to Montreat in game one and a 17-6 loss in game two.
“Today we got to see where we are as a program and got to see what we need to work on,” Bruins Head Coach Brent Casteel said. “But what a great day. God blessed us with amazing sunshine and things worked out well for us to get out on the field and play today. We’re excited to keep working hard as we move forward.”
The Bruins were set to begin the inaugural season on the road last week at Truett-McConnell University, but rain canceled the weekend series. This cancellation allowed the Bruins to play their inaugural games at home.
Prior to the doubleheader, the Bruins took some time to honor several individuals who have worked so hard to make the program a reality. One honoree was Dr. Bob Taylor, former Dean of the School of Business at BJU and former member of the Greenville County Council. Dr. Taylor has been instrumental in the formation of the program in working with the county through several projects. In recognition and appreciation of his hard work, Dr. Taylor was honored by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
As the game began, the Bruins handed the starting duties to Henry Wallach for game one. The Cavs were able to take an early lead after Wallach walked a batter with the bases loaded in the second inning. The Bruins tried to get their bats going but struggled to even the score as they trailed by one heading into the fifth.
The Cavaliers then extended their lead as Alexander Soto hit a grand slam to increase the lead to 5-0. The Bruins responded as Zach Burk drove in a run to cut the lead to 5-1. The Cavaliers then put the game out of reach as they scored four unanswered runs in the seventh inning to win game one 9-1.
Henry Wallach pitched five innings for the Bruins, allowing six hits and five runs while striking out two in his Bruins debut. Zach Burk led the Bruins offensively going 2-3 on the day, including the team’s lone RBI.
In game two, the Bruins came out looking to end the day with a win. Coach Casteel started Garrett Huskey in game two, but the Bruins struggled to begin the game as the Cavaliers jumped out with three runs in the top of the first inning. The Bruins responded in the bottom of the first as Zach Burk doubled to score Riley Ramsey as the Bruins trailed 3-1.
From there, the Cavaliers extended their lead over the next two innings, eventually taking a 10-3 lead at the end of the third. The Bruins were forced to go to their bullpen as Jerry Dunwoody, Josh Crane and Daniel Barcena each made appearances in relief for the Bruins.
The Bruins tried to spark a rally in the fourth as Zach Burk doubled to drive two runners in and cut the lead to 13-5. The Cavaliers came right back to push their lead as the team went on to win 17-6 in game two.
Garrett Huskey was awarded the loss (0-1) after pitching one and a third innings, giving up three hits and seven runs while striking out one. Josh Crane had five strikeouts for the Bruins in just over two innings of work.
Offensively, the Bruins were led by Riley Ramsey who finished going 2-3 on the day and scoring three runs. Zach Burk finished game two going 2-4 with three RBI’s in the loss.
“Our guys are young and they are new to college baseball,” Coach Casteel said. “We can’t quit and we can’t let up. We have a list of things to work on and we look forward to pushing on this season.”
The Bruins drop to 0-2 to begin the season. Next up, the Bruins will be on the road next weekend as the team travels to Covenant College for a weekend series in Lookout Mountain, Georgia.
This post first appeared on BJUBruins.com