The Blinn College baseball team began Region XIV play with a doubleheader road sweep of Coastal Bend College on Saturday in Beeville, Texas.

The Buccaneers used a big offensive performance from sophomore Connor McGinnis to earn a 7-4 victory in the opener and rallied for an 11-3 eight-inning win in game two.

“Any time you can get a twin bill sweep in conference, especially on the road, it’s a good day,” Blinn head coach Dusty Hart said. “We did a really good job of staying in the fight today.”

McGinnis packed a wallop for Blinn with two home runs and five runs batted in in game one. He smacked a three-run shot in the first inning for a 3-0 lead before blasting a two-run homer in the fifth to make it 7-3.

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(Pictured: Blinn’s Connor McGinnis)

“Connor was just huge for us today,” Hart said.

McGinnis has four longballs on the season thanks to a pair of two-homer ballgames.

Sophomore Brandon Bishop drove in a run on an RBI single in the top of the second, and an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of sophomore Tanner Reaves made it 5-0 in the fifth.

The Cougars answered in the home half of the fifth with four earned runs off Blinn starting pitcher Brendan Sweeney. The sophomore was otherwise stellar, allowing six hits in 5 1/3 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.

“Sweeney was fantastic,” Hart said. “He had some tough luck in that fifth inning, with Coastal stringing some singles together against him, but he really pitched his tail off for us.”

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(Pictured: Blinn’s Brendan Sweeney)

Sophomore left-hander Cody Pfeffer came on with one out in the sixth inning and earned a five-out save while allowing no walks or hits with one strikeout.

The Buccaneer offense totaled 10 hits, led by a 3-for-5 showing for McGinnis. Bishop and sophomore Marshall Lipsey chipped in two hits apiece.

Game two saw Blinn earn a run-rule victory with a late-game offensive outburst.

The Bucs trailed 3-2 heading into the top of the seventh frame, but rallied with three runs in the inning and broke the game wide open with six more in the eighth.

“This offense is capable of scoring a lot of runs very quickly, but you have to let it happen naturally,” Hart said. “We kept battling, we strung some hits together and you kind of saw everybody relax.”

A pair of bases loaded walks drawn by sophomores Coy Defury and Cade Climie gave the Bucs a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Coastal Bend tied the game with two runs in the fifth and jumped ahead in the sixth.

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(Pictured: Blinn’s Caden Ferraro)

In the seventh, a one-out double off the bat of freshman Caden Ferraro drove in Lipsey and McGinnis pushed Blinn ahead for good. DeFury added a sacrifice fly later in the frame to make it 5-3.

The Bucs tacked on three more runs in the eighth before DeFury mashed a two-run home run to close out the scoring.

Blinn’s 12-hit attack was fueled by two-hit games for DeFury, McGinnis, Ferraro, Climie (both doubles), and Bishop. DeFury finished with four RBIs, while Ferraro and Climie had three apiece.

The Bucs received another strong pitching performance thanks to the effort of freshman Lucas Davenport and sophomore Bryson Dudley.

Davenport allowed three earned runs on four hits with a walk and seven punchouts in six innings. Dudley closed the door with two innings of scoreless relief. He allowed two hits and fanned three Cougars.

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(Pictured: Blinn’s Lucas Davenport)

“Davenport was really good today,” Hart said. “Coastal got to him really on probably the only two bad pitches he threw all game. He just stays steady, doesn’t walk guys, and doesn’t give up a lot of hits. And then to be able to hand the ball off to Dudley … there are not a lot of teams in junior college baseball who can turn the ball over that late in the game to a guy with stuff like he has.”

Blinn will finish its three-game set with Coastal Bend with a nine-inning tilt beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, at Leroy Dreyer Field in Brenham, Texas.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 45 NJCAA national championships since 1987

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