Two days of stellar pitching, hitting and defense led to an undefeated run at the 2023 Island Invitational, capped by a pair of victories Saturday in Galveston, Texas.

The Buccaneers won all four of their games, including Saturday’s 6-5 victory over No. 18 Lake Land College, and a 6-2 triumph over Navarro College in the finale.

“You go into this tournament hoping you can come out of it 3-1 because you’re playing a couple of really good teams,” Church said. “But to be 4-0 is a good shot in the arm to start our season.”

Blinn defeated Howard College and Garden City Community College on Friday to start the tournament.

The Bucs opened play Saturday against Lake Land, pulling ahead for good with three runs in the fourth inning. An RBI single off the bat of sophomore catcher Caitlyn Stevens put Blinn ahead 5-4 before freshman infielder Madison Dorrow made it 6-4 with an RBI groundout.

Lake Land scored once in the fifth and loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but sophomore pitcher Chloee Mason earned the save with a strikeout to end it.

Blinn finished with nine hits, including three for Stevens, who drove in three runs. Freshman outfielder Erynne Castillo doubled as part of her two-hit day, and she also drew two walks and scored three times. Freshman outfielder Alayna Calvillo also had two hits, including a double, and drove in a run and scored once. Sophomore catcher/first baseman Emily Kristynik doubled and had an RBI.

Sophomore pitcher Kailey Eldridge earned the victory with 3 1/3 innings of relief.

In their final game of the tournament, the Bucs came within two outs of its third shutout of the weekend. 

Blinn built a 6-0 lead after six innings of play.

Stevens and freshman outfielder Ripley Welker smacked RBI singles for a 2-0 lead in the third frame before Stevens added a two-run homer in the fourth. In the sixth, Kristynik plated a run on a ground out and Stevens scored Calvillo with a single to left field.

Navarro scored two runs in the seventh.

Freshman pitcher Camdyn Shugart tossed a complete game for Blinn and allowed two earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

Stevens had another big day at the plate, finishing 3 for 4 with four RBIs and a run scored. Castillo added three hits and two runs and Calvillo also had a pair of hits and scored twice.  

“We pitched well during the four games, we had very few errors on defense, and there were a lot of good things happening with our offense,” Church added. “We came away from the tournament very pleased.”

The Buccaneers resume their season with a doubleheader against Tyler Junior College beginning at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, at Hohlt Park in Brenham, Texas.

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