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St Edwards Hilltoppers win Heartland Conference Championship; take two from Incarnate Word

Brian Thomas


AUSTIN, Texas The St. Edward’s baseball team won its second consecutive Heartland Conference championship by taking a pair of games from Incarnate Word on Saturday afternoon. The Hilltoppers won the first game, 15-3, and defeated the Cardinals in the second contest, 14-10.

In game one, St. Edward’s (40-16, 38-11 HC) came out swinging against Incarnate Word (39-17, 35-14 HC). Left fielder Bradley Goldsmith led off the game with a solo home run to right field. Three batters later, designated hitter Robert Hays launched a two-run home run to left field.

The Hilltoppers struck again in the second inning. Goldsmith smashed his second home run of the day over the left field wall. This home run was of the two-run variety.

The team scored three more runs in each of the next three innings. Catcher Adam Wolotira and third baseman Brian Thomas picked up RBI singles in the third inning. Shortstop Jeremy Houser struck a two-run triple to center field in the fourth inning and came around to score on a wild pitch.

In the fifth inning, Robert Hays contributed a two-run triple to right field and first baseman Dexter Moreno knocked in a run with a double to left field. To cap things off, center fielder Chris Dinges hit a solo home run in the seventh inning.

Not to be outdone by the Hilltopper offense, starter James Belliveau turned in a solid outing on the mound. Belliveau (4-1) threw his first complete game of the season. He worked all seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits, while striking out five Cardinal hitters.

In game two, the Hilltoppers started strong again. They batted around in the first inning, scoring four runs. The biggest blow in the inning game on a two-run home run off the bat of Hays.

The Cardinals quickly came back with four runs of their own in the first inning, but St. Edward’s regained the lead with a three-run second inning. Dinges had a two-run single in the inning.

The Hilltoppers tacked on another run in the third when right fielder Sean Hilbe produced an RBI groundout to shortstop. They scored another three runs in the fourth inning. Thomas bashed a three-run home run to left field, putting the Hilltoppers up, 11-4.

The Cardinals came back with five runs in the fourth inning, cutting the lead to, 11-9. The Hilltoppers kept on swinging the bats though. They scored two more runs in the sixth inning and one more in the seventh to clinch the victory, 14-10.

Thomas had an outstanding game offensively. He went 5-6 with five RBI’s and four runs scored. Hays was 2-4 with 4 RBI’s. Second baseman Drew Cross collected two hits and scored three runs as well.

With these two victories on Saturday afternoon, St. Edward’s won its second consecutive Heartland Conference title. Coach Rob Penders’ squad went 40-16 overall. They also posted an excellent, 38-11, record in Heartland Conference play.

The 2008 Heartland Conference Champions received outstanding contributions from many players. Bradley Goldsmith finished the year with a stellar .400 batting average and a team-high 14 home runs and 66 runs scored. Brian Thomas hit .397 with 10 doubles, six triples, and three home runs. Chris Dinges drove in a team-high 47 runs and also was a perfect 14-14 in stolen base attempts. On the mound, Josh Dale led the way. He went 8-1 with a conference-best 1.95 earned run average. Josh Henry won a team-high nine games, while David Wagner saved a conference-best 14 games.

St. Edward’s had an outstanding season and hopes to compete in the NCAA regional tournament which begins May 15, 2008.

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