ANTHEM, Ariz. — James Simmons pitched six shutout innings and the offense exploded in an 18-1 season-opening win over Pacific Lutheran in the Arizona Division III Classic at Boulder Creek High School in Anthem, Ariz.
Simmons, a senior righthander, was dominant in his six innings of work. He struck out nine batters and scattered six hits. The only inning the Lutes threatened against Simmons was the third when three straight singles loaded the bases with two outs, but he got out of it with a groundout and was solid throughout.
The Cowboy offense gave him plenty of cushion with an eight-run second inning. Freshman Colson Craddick led off the inning by striking out but he reached on a wild pitch. Matt Hannagan and Chris Matthews followed with one out singles to load the bases and senior third baseman Jordan Dotson delivered a two-run single to left.
Jason Vause then walked and Jon Finney had a sacrifice fly to plate Matthews and Marcus Uechit was hit by a pitch to reload the bases. McMurry transfer Andrew Bell then delivered a big three-run triple to make it 6-0 and Craddick hammered a hanging slider deep to left field for his first career home run.
It stayed 8-0 until the Cowboys added five runs in both the fifth and seventh innings. In the five-run fifth Dotson had another RBI single, Finney had a bases loaded walk, Bell had a sacrifice fly, Craddick an RBI single and Troy Nicholson had an RBI double as the Cowboys had five hits in the inning.
In the seventh the Lutes helped the Cowboys with three errors. Trey Thompson had an RBI double in the inning, Nicholson had an RBI single and Caleb Jacques had a sacrifice fly in his first at-bat as a Cowboy.
The Cowboy bullpen was also effective as Eric Zamora and Parker Robinson worked scoreless innings. Ryan Reagor added an unearned run in the top of the ninth. On the day the Cowboys struck out 12 Pacific Lutheran batters.
Jake Otness took the loss for the Lutes allowing 12 earned runs on 10 hits in four plus innings. PLU fell to 1-2 with the loss. Jacob Olsufka, Andrew Oord and Alex Beal had two hits each for the Lutes.
Nicholson had three hits for HSU and Bell, Craddick, Matthews, Hannagan, Matthews and Dotson had two each in a 17-hit Cowboy attack. Bell drove in four runs and Dotson and Craddick drove in three runs.
HSU will play Whittier at 2:30 CST on Friday.