Buccaneers defeat No. 1 San Jacinto, 5-4, to split conference series

BRENHAM, Texas – Brandon Ashy drove in four runs to help lead Blinn College baseball to a 5-4 victory over the No. 1 San Jacinto College-North Gators Saturday at Leroy Dreyer Field.

Blinn split the four-game conference series 2-2 after falling to the Gators, 6-3, in the second game of the doubleheader. With the split, the Buccaneers move to 32-15 overall and 23-8 in Region XIV play.

"I thought the team was outstanding today and am proud of their effort," said Harvey McIntyre, Blinn head coach. "Our pitching was great and kept us in both games and our offense competed hard."

Blinn 5 – San Jacinto 4

A solid pitching performance by Kyle Gray backed by four RBIs off the bat of Ashy allowed the Buccaneers to defeat San Jacinto, 5-4, to open the doubleheader.

Gray recorded the win after throwing the first six innings and only allowing four runs on seven hits, while striking out nine. Bryce Miller recorded the save after only surrendering one hit in the seventh inning, while striking out two.

"We competed hard against the number one team in the nation this whole series," Gray said. "We gave everything that we had and coming up with the win was nice. We all stepped up and did what we needed to do to give our team the best chance to win."

Ashy led Blinn's offense after going 3-for-4 and driving in four runs with a home run and single. Sammy Blair also went 3-for-4 and drove in Blinn's final run.

"We knew the conference series was on the line so did everything we could to win," Ashy said. "It feels good that we competed the way we did and we feel confident going into the Region XIV tournament where we are going to face teams like that."

San Jacinto were the first on the board after scoring three runs in the second inning for an early lead.

The Buccaneers landed on the board in the third inning after Drew Ardoin reached first base on an error and Ashy hit a two-run shot over the fence for Blinn to trail 3-2.

After San Jacinto extended its lead to 4-2 in the fifth inning, Ashy drove in two more runs with a single for Blair and Reggie McCalister to score.

The Buccaneers took a 5-4 lead for the first time in the sixth inning after Cameron Gibbons led off the inning with a single and Blair later drove him home with a single.

San Jacinto 6 – Blinn 3

San Jacinto bounced back to defeat Blinn, 6-3, to close out the doubleheader and split the conference series.

Kasey Kalich received the loss despite a solid start in which he only surrendered three runs on seven hits, while striking out eight in six innings.

Gray Rodgers, Ardoin and Gibbons led the offense after each going 2-for-4. Rodgers led Blinn with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Gibbons recorded one RBI and Ardoin scored one run.

San Jacinto took an early 1-0 lead in the opening inning, but a one-run double off the bat of Gibbons for Rodgers to come home evened the score in the second inning.

The Gators tallied one run in the third and fourth innings to pull back ahead 3-1, however Blinn managed to comeback once again.

Blinn chipped away at San Jacinto's lead after Rodgers hit a solo home run in the fourth inning for Blinn to trail 3-2. In the sixth inning, Rodgers hit a one-run single to plate Ardoin and even the score 3-3.

In the seventh inning, San Jacinto took a 6-3 lead for good after producing three runs.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Rodgers led off with a walk and Gibbons singled, but the Buccaneers fell just short of a rally.

Next, Blinn will take a break from conference play to host Coastal Bend College on Monday, April 30 for a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. at Leroy Dreyer Field.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 38 NJCAA national championships since 1987.