The Buccaneers rallied for three runs in the ninth inning to earn an 8-5 victory over No. 3 McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas.

“This was about as big a win on the road as you’re going to get,” Blinn head coach Dusty Hart said. “Year in and year out, McLennan is a really, really good team. I thought we handled the big moments really well and never let any situation get too big for us.”

Blinn (10-4) beat the third-ranked ballclub in NJCAA Division I’s preseason Top 20 poll two days after topping Dallas College-Eastfield, the top-ranked NJCAA Division III squad and last season’s DIII national runner-up, on Thursday.

The Bucs are playing good baseball early as they’re already close to eclipsing last season’s win total (15).

Blinn added another victory to its win column thanks to a series of clutch hits in the ninth inning. After the Highlanders tied the game in the bottom of the eighth, the Bucs responded right out of the gate to open the ninth.

Freshman Brandon Bishop began the ninth with a double and moved to third on a single by freshman Tanner Reaves. Sophomore Ian Collier then crushed a home run to left field to give Blinn the 8-5 advantage.

Sophomore pitcher Tate Bethel induced three ground outs around a walk in the home half of the ninth to close out the game and earn the win.

Freshman pitcher Bryson Dudley started for the Bucs and worked 3 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Freshman reliever Cody Pfeffer tossed four innings in which he allowed two earned runs on five hits with six punchouts and a pair of walks.

The Blinn offense totaled 13 hits, led by three apiece for Bishop and Reaves. Collier had two hits and two walks. Freshman Coy DeFury hit a two-run homer in the top of the second that made it a 2-1 ballgame. Freshman Kash Durkin had a single and two RBI and Reaves also plated a run. Collier scored three runs and Bishop and Reaves each scored twice. 

Blinn begins a four-game Region XIV South Zone series with Alvin Community College at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at Leroy Dreyer Field in Brenham, Texas. The two teams will then battle it out at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, in Alvin, Texas, before returning to Brenham for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.

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