Baseball opens WJCAC Play with Day 1 Sweep of Frank Phillips

Mark Rogers: OA
Mark Rogers: OA

The Odessa College baseball team opened WJCAC play on a positive note Friday, sweeping a doubleheader against Frank Phillips College at Wrangler Field.

The Wranglers won the opener 4-2 behind three RBIs from Noah Dominguez and the nightcap 13-5 as Ivan Melendez and Harry Fullerton homered.

In the first game, Noah Brown pitched 2.2 scoreless innings for his third save. In the second, the Wranglers (11-7 overall, 2-0 WJCAC) jumped out to a 7-0 lead with a five-run second inning, then ended the game on the run rule with four runs in the seventh.

"Game 1 was tough the entire way through," Odessa College coach Kurtis Lay said, "A two-run ballgame on a day like today. It was a great job by Noah Brown coming in and shutting the door. (Josef) Cihlar got us to the back end. It was a good win there.

"For us to have the big inning early gave us some breathing room in Game 2 and then, obviously, the big inning in the seventh was nice to have."

The teams wrap up the four-game series with another doubleheader starting at noon today.

In the opener, Dominguez had a sacrifice fly and a two-run triple, while Kyler Castillo went 3 for 3 to lead the Wranglers. Deylan Moreno was 2 for 3.

"It kind of sets the tone for how conference is going to go," Dominguez said of Friday's sweep. "That's a big one."

Dominguez, who was 1 for 1 with a walk, gave Odessa College the early lead with his sacrifice fly in the second inning. Frank Phillips College tied it on Yadier Medina's RBI single in the third and went in front on Ricardo Leonette's run-scoring groundout in the fourth.

The Wranglers regained the lead on Dominguez's triple in the bottom of the fourth. Castillo tripled and scored on a balk in the fifth.

"We were basically just trying to hit the ball hard, trying to put some runs up for our pitchers," Dominguez said. "Everyone contributed. It was all a team effort."

Cihlar (1-0) worked 1.2 innings in relief of starter Marc Luna for the win, allowing an unearned run on one hit and a walk while striking out two. Brown gave up a hit and a walk while striking out three to close it out.

The Plainsmen left 13 runners on base, eight of them in scoring position, after getting the leadoff man on five times in seven innings. Leadoff doubles by Marc Zamora in the first and Nicolas Ramos in the second were stranded and FPC left the bases loaded in the first and third.

Luna, who struck out three, allowed a run on three hits over 2.2 innings. But four walks and Odessa College's recent offensive struggles led Lay to make the early change.

"We've struggled to score runs," Lay said. "In our last seven games before today, we haven't just put up a whole lot of runs (three or less in five games, losing all five). If you're not going to put up a whole lot of runs, you've got to be a little quicker with the hook. You can't leave guys out there to figure it out.

"Our offense is going to have to put up more runs so we can extend our starters longer."

The Wranglers managed to achieve both of those goals in the second game. Odessa College took advantage of five walks and two errors to score twice in the first inning, then saw its first three hits go for a two-run triple, a two-run homer and a solo homer in the second.

Wranglers starter Noah Bartlett (3-2) parlayed the run support into a six-inning stint, overcoming a five-run fourth by Frank Phillips (7-8, 0-2). Bartlett was charged with five runs on seven hits. He struck out six.

"What he did a really good job of was getting us back in the dugout," Lay said of Bartlett. "He had three three-up, three-down innings. That allowed for them to have long innings.

"We had the one inning where I think we just lost concentration and got knocked around a little bit and gave them five back. Fortunately, we were able to come back and respond after that."

Bartlett, who faced just four batters in two other innings, retired the last seven men he faced before Kayden Cassidy posted another three-up, three down inning.

Melendez had the two-run homer and finished with three RBIs. Tyler Latham was 2 for 4 with a two-run triple in the second and doubled in the game-ending run. Mason McLenna was 2 for 3 with a triple.

Odessa College finished with 10 hits, seven of them for extra bases as Castillo and Myles Jefferson added doubles.

"We made adjustments at the plate," Melendez said. "The first game, the sticks weren't hot, then we got them hot. We got angry at ourselves and just hunted the fastball, and we didn't miss it."