His team having won the first two games in which he started, Elon University junior pitcher Lucas Bakker toed the rubber again Saturday, March 1. This time, visiting High Point University pounced on Bakker to take a 6-2 win in another chapter between the two historic baseball rivals.
Bakker surrendered five runs in 4 1/3 innings, his shortest start in an Elon uniform.
“They picked up on what he was doing and we couldn’t get them off the barrels,” Elon head coach Mike Kennedy said. “We’ll go to the drawing board to try to change up some things in his delivery a little bit and see if we can clean that up. If that gets on the scouting report, he’s going to be in trouble. They weren't just hitting him because he was bad. They knew what was coming. We'll figure out what happened and go from there."
High Point freshman designated hitter Brenden Rivera hit an RBI single to score sophomore center fielder Tim Mansfield in the third inning, and junior left fielder Cody Manzella knocked in junior catcher Josh Spano later in the frame. The Panthers scored another run in the fourth when senior Kyle Brandenburg hit an RBI double, scoring junior shortstop Tony Fortier-Bensen. Brandenburg had a single in the fifth scoring junior right fielder Dane McDermott and freshman second baseman Chris Clare.
“(Bakker) was throwing strikes for the most part, but (High Point) was just hitting the ball hard,” Elon junior third baseman Casey Jones said. “I don’t know what they had on him, but they were doing something right.”
The final High Point run was scored off of Elon’s second pitcher of the day, freshman Graham Edwards. Spano singled home Fortier-Bensen, also in the fifth inning.
All the while, High Point senior pitcher Mike Krumm was having his way with the Phoenix. Krumm gave up only two hits in five innings of work, and struck out four Phoenix hitters.
“We had bad at-bats,” Kennedy said. “Veteran guys were swinging at bad pitches, chasing out of the zone. You get down a little bit, and you want to work some counts and have quality at-bats and we just wouldn't do it. In attempt to get back in it, we'd swing at balls up and out of the zone and chase balls in the dirt all the way to the last out. It just wasn't a good effort by us offensively.”
High Point’s bullpen did not allow a hit in four innings, though Elon was able to scratch across two runs in the seventh inning. A fielding error by Clare allowed Elon freshman designated hitter Nick Zammarelli, who had walked, to score. Senior second baseman Sebastian Gomez hit a sacrifice bunt later in the inning, scoring freshman left fielder D.J. Paone, who had also walked.
A bright spot for Elon was senior relief pitcher Jacob Baker, who scattered three hits and no runs in four innings.
“I just knew we were down six and my job was to come in and throw strikes and give us a chance to stay in the ballgame,” Baker said. “I feel like I did a pretty good job of that.”
“Baker threw really well,” Kennedy said. “Hopefully that will give him some confidence and he'll continue to do that. He can really help us.”
Elon fell to 7-3 with the loss, while High Point improved to 7-4 with the win. Krumm upped his personal record to 2-1, and Bakker fell to 1-1.