The 19th-ranked Blinn College baseball team settled for a split of its Region XIV South doubleheader against Galveston College on Friday at Leroy Dreyer Field in Brenham, Texas.

The Buccaneers earned a 5-3 victory in the opener but couldn’t complete a late-game rally in the nightcap as the Whitecaps claimed a 9-6 win.

Blinn (30-14 overall, 22-6 South) took three of four from Galveston in the four-game set, but with the Bucs battling for first place in the South, head coach Dusty Hart certainly would’ve preferred a sweep.

“Splitting today isn’t ideal, but we’re fortunate to have gotten that much,” Hart said. “We didn’t play our best baseball today, and Galveston played us as hard as any team has all year. Tip your cap to those kids for continuing to fight until the final out.”

The Bucs fell back into a first-place tie with San Jacinto College-North in the South with seven games remaining for both clubs. San Jacinto owns the tiebreaker with a 4-3 head-to-head record against Blinn. The winner of the South will host the Region XIV South Regional tournament in May.

Blinn’s day started with a pair of strong pitching performances from freshman Lucas Davenport and sophomore Jake Kolkhorst.

Lucas Davenport 2023-24
(Pictured: Blinn freshman Lucas Davenport fires a pitch against Galveston during a game April 19, 2024)

Davenport improved to 3-2 on the season after allowing three earned runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts and four walks in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander gave way to Kolkhorst with one out in the sixth, and Kolkhorst recorded the final five outs of the contest for his second save.

Kolkhorst struck out three, walked one, and didn’t allow a hit.

“It starts with Lucas,” Kolkhorst said. “Give him credit because he’s the one who set the tone for the game. He was aggressive, he filled up the zone, and he made Galveston’s hitters not want to be in the box, and that carries over for the entire pitching staff.”

Davenport said he wasn’t satisfied with his effort, but praised Kolkhorst and the Bucs offense for contributing to the final result.

“Not the outing I wanted to have, but I was still able to go out there and keep my team in the game,” Davenport said. “The offense did its job and gave me five runs, we have a guy like Jake who comes out of the bullpen and slams the door shut, and you can’t be too upset when you come away with a win.”

The Bucs trailed for one half inning after the Whitecaps grabbed a 1-0 edge in the top of the first. Blinn got right to work in the home half of the frame and posted four runs to seize control for good.

Brayden Sprencel 2023-24
(Pictured: Blinn sophomore Brayden Sprence puts a tag on a Galveston baserunner during a game April 19, 2024)

Freshman Caden Ferraro tied the game with an RBI single, sophomore Marshall Lipsey was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, sophomore Brayden Sprencel drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and freshman Ryan Williams drew a walk to score another run.

Sophomore Coy DeFury made it 5-1 in the third on an RBI groundout.

Galveston tallied single runs in the fifth and sixth frames.

Ferraro and sophomore Tanner Reaves each had two hits as part of the Bucs’ six-hit effort. 

In game two, a 2-1 Blinn lead was erased in the sixth inning when the Whitecaps rallied for six runs.

The Bucs attempted to chip away in the later innings, but couldn’t complete the rally in the ninth.

“We didn’t respond well to adversity in that second game,” Hart said. “After the big four-run inning in the first game, it kind of felt like we went into cruise control the rest of the way until we tried to flip the switch back on, and by then it was too late.”

The Whitecaps used an RBI groundout in the fourth to take a brief lead, but Ferraro mashed a two-run home run – his 11th on the year – to left field in the bottom of the inning to put the Bucs on top. 

Galveston got to Blinn sophomore starter Ryan Sweeney in the sixth before sophomore relievers Bryson Dudley and Cody Pfeffer teamed up to record the last two outs of the inning.

Sweeney was charged with the loss after surrendering five runs (four earned) on four hits and two walks. He struck out four. 

Blinn scored single tallies in the sixth and seventh innings and matched the Whitecaps’ two-run output in the ninth.

The Bucs totaled nine hits and Reaves, Ferraro, and sophomore Connor McGinnis each had two.

Blinn hits the road for the start of a three-game Region XIV South set against Wharton College at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, in Wharton, Texas. The two teams will conclude the series with a doubleheader at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, in Brenham.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 47 NJCAA national championships since 1987.

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