Redhawks Fail to Make the Conference Tournament as 2019 Baseball Season Ends

The Redhawks wrapped up the 2019 season Saturday.  Courtesy: John Shaffer

The Seattle University Redhawks flew into Greeley, Colorado on Wednesday in hopes of getting a good night’s sleep before they took on Northern Colorado.  If they sweep the Bears and some other WAC games fell their way, they would make the WAC conference tournament.  If they fail to achieve that task by losing just one game, 2019 would be over.  As they went to sleep that night, visions of playoffs danced in their heads.  They woke up Thursday morning with one thing on their minds, to win game one.  Redhawk nation would soon find out what they were in for.

GAME ONE

Mr. Consistency Jarrod Billig took the mound for the Redhawks as the future ace looked to shut down the Bears and bring the Redhawks one game closer.  After an early run, Jarrod took the mound in the bottom half on inning one.  He wasn’t the Jarrod Billig we had gotten used to during the 2019 season.  He gave up four 1st inning runs on three hits and one big Redhawk error.  Seattle University would go silent as the Bears scored two more runs in the 3rd inning to go up 6-1.  That would be the end of Jarrod’s 2019 season as he was pulled after 72 pitches and 3 innings.  In the top of inning six, RF Chase Wells would belt a grand slam homerun as the Redhawks would plate five more runs to tie it at 6-6.  Josh Thompson, who was cruising along through two innings, would fall apart and allow five 6th inning runs as the Bears took the lead 11-6.

By games end, the final would be 12-6 Northern Colorado.  Seattle University pitchers would allow 13 hits, 7 walks, 2 errors in the field and 2 hit-by-pitches.  A common theme in almost every game this season by the pitching staff and the defense.

GAME TWO

With the playoffs out of their reach, the Redhawks looked to finish off the 2019 season on a winning note.  Ethan Christianson would get a rare start and take the mound for the Redhawks.  Jacob Prater, the senior 2B, lead off the ballgame with a home-run for the early 1-0 lead.  Christianson kept the Bears in check.  After a rather long rain delay, Tyler Yeh would relieve Ethan in the bottom of the 2nd.  Yeh would pitch a quality start as he would pitch a complete game out of the bullpen, going 7 1/3.  He was the Yeh of old as he struck out 7 Bears while allowing 4 hits and 2 non-earned runs (Redhawks would commit 3 more errors).  After seeing the Bears comeback and tie the ballgame at 2-2, Seattle University would plate three runs in the 8th inning including a RBI single by Justin Mazzone.  Yeh would do the rest as the Redhawks won game two 5-2.

GAME THREE

Senior sensation Jake Prizina took the mound for his final college career game.  Priz, still coming back from injury, didn’t have his best stuff.  He would last four innings giving up 6 runs, an unfortunate end to a spectacular college career.  2B Jacob Prater would hit a home-run to lead off the ballgame.  Northern Colorado would have no part of that lead as they scored two runs in each of the first two innings to go up 4-1.  C Kyler Murphy and LF Kyle Sherick would connect on consecutive base hits in the 3rd inning with two outs.  SS Connor O’Brien would drive both runs in on a RBI double to cut the lead to 4-3.  In the top of the 4th, Kyler Murphy would single in another run to tie the ballgame at 4-4.  Northern Colorado would plate 2 more runs in the 4th inning to go up 6-4.

By games end, the Bears would beat the Redhawks 10-4 to take the series two games to one.  Jacob Prater, Kyler Murphy and Kyle Sherick would combine for 7 of the 11 Redhawks’ hits, but four runs would be all they could muster up.

Seattle University Redhawks finished the year with a record of (13-39), going (8-19) in the conference.  Jake Prizina and Jarrod Billig would tie with 4 wins a piece.  Tyler Yeh would lead the team in strikeouts while Jake Prizina would lead the team in ERA.  Alex Jemal and Tyler Yeh would tie for the team lead in saves at 2.

On offense, C Kyler Murphy would lead the team in hitting with a .320 average.  Freshman standout Kyle Sherick would bat a close 2nd, with an average of .310.  Kyle would lead the team with 62 hits and tie for the team lead with 5 home-runs (shared with 1B Jake Taylor and DH Justin Mazzone).  RF Chase Wells would be the team leader with 40 runs batted in.  Kyler Murphy would lead the team with a .437 on-base percentage while OF Kyle Sherick would have a slugging percentage of .450 to lead the Redhawks in that category.  OF Gavin Rork and Kyle Sherick would tie for the team lead with 10 stolen bases each.  The reason for these stats is to show that there is talent on this team, and if it wasn’t for a down year in the pitching department, there would be more stats to talk about.  Jake Prizina, Jake Taylor, Max Werner, Kyler Murphy, Jacob Prater and Mike Ciancio might be leaving the program (We thank you again guys from the bottom of our hearts), but we have lots to look forward to.

2019 might be over, but the future is bright with the Seattle University Redhawks.  Head Coach Donny Harrel said it best “This was not the year any of us anticipated and I take full responsibility for that,” “We never really reached our potential and that is my job as well as the responsibility of my staff. We will be back as a contender in the conference as we all learn from what we went through this season.”  Thirteen Freshman entered the program, and they all got some great experience.  At times, they showed us why they were recruited to Seattle University.  Next season and beyond, Redhawk Nation should be excited.  SS Connor O’Brien, 3B Austin Lively, UT Julian Kodama, C Justin Mazzone, OF Kyle Sherick (the next Dalton Hurd), OF Chase Wells, OF Gavin Rork and many others return to the team in the fall along with some amazing recruits that Head Coach Donny Harrel and his staff have brought in.  The starting rotation (in no order) will be ace Jarrod Billig, Josh Thompson, Desmond Parisotto, Tyler Yeh (though Yeh is more effective out of the bullpen) and a talented group of young pitchers who got a plethora of experience this past season.

Thank you to the entire Seattle University program for the opportunity to cover Redhawk baseball in 2019.  Thank you to Director of Baseball Operations Phil Mann for all that you did to provide a great experience for Seattle Sports Union on and off the field.  Phil Mann, you are great at what you do for that team.  Best of luck to you this summer and beyond.  Congratulations to you and your bride-to-be.  Finally, thank you to Head Coach Donny Harrel for the great job you did this season.  The Redhawks had their ups and downs, but you and your staff did the best of your abilities.  We at Seattle Sports Union can’t wait until the 2020 season begins.  These kids are blessed with talent, talent that has already shown on and off the field.

We will see you in 2020.  Go Redhawks!

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Brian joined the SSU in 2017 and covers the Everett AquaSox. I'm a graduate of Washington State University and I'm a die-hard baseball fan.