TUCSON, Ariz. — Though the UT Dallas Comets struck early with a five-spot in the top of the first, the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen rallied behind eight scoreless innings from senior pitcher Justin Fong to come back and take their season opener 8-5. Coming in with a runner on and no outs in the second, Fong allowed just two hits across his next 28 batters while striking out five in Thursday's victory.
Offensively, the rest of the lineup brought the run support needed to overcome the early deficit and take the lead in the fourth. Sophomore Tanner Wright and juniors Ryne Yamashiro, Kaden White, Matt Sciumbato and Ryan Probst each collected a pair of hits while junior transfer Nick Pico recorded a team-best three RBI in his Kingsmen debut.
UT Dallas opened the contest with back-to-back singles off of junior Troy Frazier and soon capitalized on a double by Luke Richter for the early lead. Richter later scored on a wild pitch followed by an error that later resulted in two more unearned runs in the first.
However, that would be all for the Comets as the Kingsmen bats came to life starting with a double from Pico that scored White and Yamashiro in the bottom of the first, closing the deficit to 5-2.
The hits continued to roll from there, Cal Lutheran tallying a total of 12 hits on the day. The Kingsmen tacked on three more runs in the third off a wild pitch and RBIs from Pico and Probst to knot things up at five apiece, before Yamashiro singled in the fourth for the go-ahead run.
For extra run insurance, junior Cortez Espinoza scored senior Trevor Egan on a sacrifice fly and Sciumbato sent Wright home on a single in the bottom of the sixth to rack up the final two runs for the Kingsmen.
The 8-5 victory moves Cal Lutheran to 1-0 overall on the season. The team returns to the field tomorrow, February 8, at 2 p.m. MST to take on the Whitman Blues in game two of the Cactus Classic in Tucson, Arizona.
Box Score: CLU 8, UTD 5
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director