Hernandez’s Record Setting Outing Highlights Saints Sweep

KSCB News - March 20, 2016 12:06 pm

With all of the success that the Seward County baseball program has seen over the years, there aren’t many things that happen anymore that go in the ‘has never happened’ category. However, Saturday afternoon as the Saints hooked up with the Pratt Beavers, one of those historical performances did occur. In game one of the doubleheader, Seward sophomore Jakob Hernandez put on a show, striking out 19 Pratt hitters in a one hit, 8-0 shutout, marking the most strikeouts ever recorded by a Saints pitcher in a single game. In game two, the Saints broke out the bats, building a 10-2 lead after just two innings before going on to win a 15-3 run rule in seven.

Seward starter Jakob Hernandez set the tone from the start in game one of the Saints and Beavers four game series at Brent Gould Field in Liberal. The lefty wasted no time in getting a big day started, striking out all three Pratt hitters he faced in the 1st inning.

After the Saints went down in order in their first at bats as well, Hernandez was back at it in the 2nd, fanning two more to run his total after two innings to five.

The Saints got on the scoreboard for the first time in the bottom half of the 2nd as Antonio Dorado doubled home a run and Easton Herring drove him home later on to put Seward in front 2-0 after two.

Hernandez remained on a roll as the Beavers came to hit in the 3rd, punching out the side again to go through the Pratt order for the first time striking out eight of nine hitters faced.

Seward’s offense blew things open in the 3rd as Dorado picked up his second RBI of the game to make it 3-0 and Jared Biddy smacked a double down the line to score two more to stretch the Saints lead to 5-0.

Hernandez allowed his first baserunner of the game with a leadoff walk in the 4th and gave another free pass later in the inning, but for the third time in the game, he recorded all three outs of the inning via strikeout to reach double digits in punchouts for the fifth time in six starts this season.

After a quiet 4th for the Saints, Hernandez was back on the mound firing in the 5th, striking out two of the first three hitters he faced for numbers 11 and 12 on the day. A Pratt ground ball through the right side marked the Beavers first hit of the game, but with two runners on, Hernandez blew another fastball past a Pratt hitter for strike three, ending the inning with k number 13.

The Saints again were blanked by Beaver pitching in the 5th and Hernandez ran right back to the bump for Seward in the 6th. Hernandez walked his fourth batter of the game to leadoff the inning, but again went back to the strikeout to record his outs, punching out the side for the third straight inning to keep the Saints in front 5-0.

Seward put the game away in the bottom of the 6th, getting a bases clearing double from Biddy, running his RBI total in the game to five while blowing the game open to 8-0 going to the 7th and final inning.

Hernandez did the rest, blowing pitch after pitch past the Beaver hitters in the 7th, striking out the side once again in the inning to break the school record with his 17th, 18th, and 19th strikeouts in the game to seal an 8-0 Seward County win.

Hernandez was nearly untouchable in the victory, going the distance for his fourth win of the season, striking out a career high and school record 19 Beavers in the process, including the final 14 Pratt outs coming via strikeout. Hernandez allowed just 1 hit, marking his third complete game shutout of the season. He now has 82 strikeouts on the season, 21 more than any other pitcher in the entire country.

Lost in the Hernandez show was Biddy’s performance at the plate, going 2 for 2 with 5 RBI’s while Dorado also had a big day at the plate, recording 3 hits and driving home a pair.

SEWARD COUNTY/PRATT GAME ONE BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/bsb/2015-16/boxscores/20160319_ax3t.xml>

The Beavers took out their offensive frustrations early on in game two, banging out three 1st inning hits and cashing in a pair of runs to take a 2-0 lead before the Saints had a chance to hit.

Their joy was short-lived however as Seward pounded Beaver starter Nathan Roth to the tune of six 1st inning runs, highlighted by a two run double off the bat of Josh Nicol and a two run triple from sophomore Chad Kennedy to take a 6-2 lead.

The Saints took advantage of Beaver struggles on the mound in the 2nd as Pratt walked a run home with the bases loaded and tossed a wild pitch after the base on balls to put Seward up 8-2. Pratt looked like they were out of the inning with a tailor made double play ball, but they couldn’t turn the pair and a throwing error allowed two Seward runs to score making it 10-2 after two.

It remained a 10-2 game to the bottom of the 4th when another Pratt error allowed the Saints to score two more runs to open their lead to 12-2.

Neither team scored in the 5th and Pratt gave it one last run in the top of the 6th, scoring once and loading the bases with one out before reliever Trent Mulherin came in and struck out back to back Beaver hitters to end the threat and their spirit with the Saints remaining ahead big 12-3.

The Saints added three runs for style in the 6th, plating one on a Beaver error and two others on RBI’s from Justin Graff-Rowe and Dylan Paul to make it a 15-3 game.

Needing three runs to extend the game, Pratt put their first two batters of the 7th on base, but Mulherin got a pop up and then a double play ball to end the threat and the game, sealing a 15-3 run rule win for the Saints.

The Saints had 13 hits in the win, taking advantage as well of 6 Pratt errors. Dorado had 3 more hits to finish the day with 6 while Paul was 3 for 4 with 2 RBI’s in the game and Nicol drove home 3 for the Saints. Adam Keller won his third straight start for Seward, going 5 1/3, allowing 6 hits and 3 runs while striking out 8 to improve to 4-1 on the year.

SEWARD COUNTY/PRATT GAME TWO BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/bsb/2015-16/boxscores/20160319_fbnz.xml>

The Saints win back to back games for the first time in over a month to improve to 11-15 overall and 4-6 in Jayhawk West Conference play. Pratt’s struggles continue as they fall to 9-16 overall and remain winless in conference play at 0-6.

The Saints and Beavers will hook up again on Sunday at Brent Gould Field in a 2:00 doubleheader to wrap up the series.


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