Texas College opened the 2020 season with a double header sweep of Friends University (KS) 8-5 and 15-2. The Steers opened up the flood gates in the first inning of both games with 4 and 7 runs respectively and never lost the lead in either contest. The Steers received quality starts from both winning pitchers Michael Traylor (SR, RHP Freeport, TX) and Kedrick Edwards (SO, LHP New Orleans).
In game 1, Texas College got a spark from senior All-RRAC outfielder Cameron Phelts who cut off a potential lead off double to left field, after left fielder Nick Babineaux unsuccessfully dove for the ball, and threw out the runner at second base. Then on offense, Phelts lead off the bottom half with a single and successfully stole 2nd and 3rd base and was driven in with a sac fly by 2019 unanimous All-RRAC INF Carlos Collazo. Jayson Jimenez and Cory Labsan were driven in by Marques Irving with a single to right center.
After a 4 run first inning the Steers were in control thanks to the dominance of Traylor’s right arm. Traylor pitched 6 strong innings scattering 6 hits. Traylor dominated his outing getting 75% ground ball outs during a game when the wind had gusts up to 20 mph blowing out.
Other notable performers in game 1 included, Cory Labsan 2-3, 2 runs scored, Jonathan Riffle 1-2, 2 RBI and Kyle Smith 0-2, 2 runs scored.
In game 2, the Steers exploded for 7 runs in the 1st inning off of 5 hits, 2 walks and 1 HBP. Phelts recorded two singles and two RBI’s in the first inning and Cory score 1 of his 3 runs in the first inning. Nick Babineaux was on base 4 times going 2-3 with 2 RBI’s, 2 walks and 3 runs scored. Jonathan Riffle was 3-5 with 3 RBI’s and 2 runs scored. However, the highlight of game 2 offensively was the debut of freshman phenom catcher Luis Lopez who was 3-3 with a double and 3 RBI’s.
When asked about Lopez, Coach Macon said, “Coach Espada did a great job identifying and signing this young kid because we knew he could play at a high level coming out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School which is known for their numerous MLB amateur draft picks. Today he showed more maturity than we thought both offensively and defensively and was very exciting to watch him versus a good program in Friends.” His battery-mate Kedrick Edwards pitched 5 innings only giving up 1 earned run on 3 hits.
Macon said, “Edwards is one of the toughest competitors we have had a chance to coach and does not fear any moment. I didn’t tell him he was starting until 20 minutes before the game because we are waiting on the rest of pitchers to get cleared through the NAIA. So we decided to go with him because of his ability to change pace on the hitters and control the running.” The Steers recorded 16 hits in game 2 which is the most ever on opening day in the Macon era.
Another notable performer from game 2 was AJ Arellano in 1 inning pitched, he recorded three strikeouts.