Buccaneers power past Wharton in conference opener, 11-1

BRENHAM, Texas – Koby Collins supplied the offense early with a grand slam to help Blinn College baseball defeat Wharton County Junior College 11-1 in seven innings to open Region XIV conference play on Friday afternoon at Leroy Dreyer Field.

"It was the two at-bats in the first inning for a five-run lead that really set the tone," said Harvey McIntyre, Blinn head coach. "On top of that, Jacob Millender was phenomenal on the mound and threw a lot of zeros on the board."

With the win, the Buccaneers improve to 5-3 overall and open conference with a 1-0 record.

Collins led Blinn's explosive offense after going 2-for-3, driving in four runs and scoring three runs. Brandon Ashy went 2-for-3, drove in two runs and scored one run, while Gray Rodgers went 1-for-3, scored two runs and drove in one. Zach Cherry and Hunter Trinidad each recorded one run and one RBI in the victory.

Millender earned his first win of the season after throwing seven innings and only surrendering one run on three hits, while striking out five and not allowing a walk.

All it took was two hits in the opening inning for the Buccaneers to leap out to a 5-0 lead. After Ashy and Alec Sanchez drew walks and Trinidad singled to load the bases, Rodgers was hit by a pitch for Blinn to take a 1-0 lead. With two outs and two strikes on the board, Collins cleared the bases with a grand slam for Blinn to lead 5-0.

"It felt great to come out strong in the conference season opener and we hope to keep it rolling all throughout the conference season," said Collins. "Our offense was all around good and got after the pitchers to get the job done."

Wharton used five pitchers in an attempt to stop the Blinn offense that totaled 11 hits in the victory.

Cherry led off the third inning with a home run to give Blinn a 6-0 advantage.

Wharton's only run came in the fifth inning from a solo home run for the Pioneers to trail 6-1.

In the sixth inning, Blinn added two runs to the board after Collins scored on a wild pitch and Ashy hit a one-run single for Jackson Leath to score.

The Buccaneers kept the offense rolling in the seventh inning to score three runs and run rule Wharton. Rodgers led Blinn off with a double and later scored the first run of the inning on an error. Ashy and Trinidad pushed the final runs across the plate after each hitting one-run singles for the 11-1 victory.

The Buccaneers will continue the opening conference series against Wharton on Saturday, Feb. 24 in a doubleheader starting at noon in Wharton.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 36 NJCAA national championships since 1987.