The Buccaneer baseball team opted to beat the odds, anyway.
Facing an 11-run deficit early in its Region XIV South Zone opener against No. 15 Alvin Community College, Blinn put on an improbable rally that resulted in a 22-15 victory Tuesday at Leroy Dreyer Field in Brenham, Texas.
“Ninety-five percent of the time, you lose that game 11-0 after five innings and go home,” Hart said. “Our resiliency is hard to even put into words. That was a huge comeback win right there, and the fact that we hung around and scratched and clawed our way back … what an incredible group effort.”
The Dolphins knocked around Blinn pitching early to build an 11-0 advantage heading into the bottom of the third inning, and even after Blinn freshman Tanner Reaves smacked a two-run homer in the home half of the third, Alvin tacked on a single tally in the fourth for a 12-2 cushion.
“It doesn’t matter how many runs you put us down, this team isn’t going to give up,” said Reaves. “It’s tough, but you just have to find a way to get the guys going. It takes a couple big hits and you’re right back in the game.”
Following a scoreless bottom of the fourth, big hits became the name of the game for the Bucs the rest of the night.
Freshman Shane Martin belted a grand slam to left field to make it 12-6 in the fifth, while freshmen Kash Durkin and Brandon Bishop kept the rally going with an RBI double and an RBI groundout, respectively.
The Dolphins increased their lead to 14-8 with solo runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but Blinn (11-4 overall, 1-0 Region XIV South Zone) kept chipping away.
Freshman Bryson Dudley and Martin each drew a bases loaded walk in the home half of the seventh to make it 14-10, and after Alvin finished its offensive effort with a run in the eighth, the Bucs seized the momentum for good in the bottom of the frame.
“You always have to remember that when you’re down early like we were tonight, there’s a lot of baseball left,” sophomore Tate Bethel said. “One at bat can change an entire game, and we just kept fighting.”
Bethel put the finishing touches on his team’s rally after Bishop and Reaves each smacked a two-run double to pull the Bucs within 15-14. After freshman Tony Vernars singled Reaves to second and Martin was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Bethel came to the plate with two outs and cleared the bags with a line-drive double to the gap in left-center field.
“We all had to go to the plate and compete every single pitch,” Bethel added. “I just got on one pitch and hit it as best as I could, and it went our way.”
In his second plate appearance of the inning, Bishop hit another two-run double to increase the Bucs’ lead before Reaves mashed his second two-run homer of the night to finish the 12-run outburst.
Blinn finished with 17 hits, led by Reaves’ 5-for-5 showing. He also doubled in the bottom of the first and finished with six RBIs and five runs scored.
Bishop had three hits, including a triple, with six RBIs and four runs. Martin had two hits, two runs, and drove in five.
Bethel capped his night with a scoreless ninth inning on the mound, as he fanned the final two Dolphins he faced to seal the win.
Freshman Tyler Bogusz was the pitcher of record, earning the victory with 1 2/3 innings of work.
Blinn continues its four-game region series against Alvin when the two teams face off at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, in Alvin, Texas.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.