Warhawks split opening series versus Bradley

Jonah Bostick, Sports Editor

College baseball is back, and with it comes the uncertainty of the sport. ULM dominated Friday night but faltered on Saturday.

The Warhawks (1-1) opened the 2023 season by hosting Bradley (1-1) on the new Lou St. Amant field.

On Friday night, the team looked as if they had been playing together for years.

In the first inning, a double from Chenar Brown scored two runs, giving the Warhawks their first runs of the season. The Warhawks also showed speed early, with two stolen bases in the first two innings.

“We got a little bit of physicality,” head coach Michael Federico said. “We can run a little bit, and we stole some bases.”

In the bottom of the fourth, the Warhawks once again scored on a two-run double, this time from Shawn Dalton Weatherbee driving a ball down the left-field line.

In the midst of the new talent for ULM was a familiar face in starting pitcher Cam Barlow. He pitched seven innings, struck out seven batters and allowed no runs.

“You can kind of expect Barlow to show up,” Federico said. “I thought he pitched well. He pitches with such great tempo, and it allows our defense to make plays.”

The defense for the Braves fell apart in the seventh inning. Kade Dupont scored on a wild pitch, and Michelle Artzberger scored on a fielding error.

As if a 6-0 lead wasn’t enough, Artzberger decided to add the cherry on top and double off the wall in left-center field, which allowed Cardell Thibodaux to score. When all was said and done, the Warhawks won with a 7-0 shutout.

Game two was a different story, especially with the pitching performance.

The Braves scoring on a sacrifice fly in the second inning with the bases loaded was troubling, but Cole Cressend pitched out of it and produced a solid third inning. ULM also responded with three runs in the bottom of the third to take a 3-1 lead.

Bradley responded with an RBI single to make it a one-run game. With two men on base for Bradley, Connor O’Brien sent a ball into the Monroe sky for a three-run homer putting the Braves up 5-3.

Two RBI singles in the fifth put Bradley up 7-3. The bats went cold for the Warhawks as they couldn’t get anything going against pitcher Travis Lutz.

The Braves added an insurance run in the ninth to make it 8-3. ULM wasn’t ready to quit just yet. In a last gasp for air, the Warhawks loaded the bases, and Thibodaux sent a ball into left-center for a three-RBI double. Weatherbee almost tied the game with a ball into deep right-center field, but it was caught by the outfielder to end the game.

“Today was a little bit different,” Federico said. “But at the end, our guys were still fighting, and the dugout still had energy.”

ULM travels to Starkville, Mississippi to take on Mississippi State from the SEC on Tuesday.