Thunder Baseball Drops Series at Grambling State

Grambling, LA - The Manhattan Christian College Thunder baseball team headed south to Louisiana for a weekend series with the Grambling State University Tigers over the weekend. The matchup was sort of a "David vs. Goliath" one, but the Thunder coming off of an impressive home stand were prepared to give the Tigers all they could handle.

The series didn't go as well as coach Jimmy McDonald and his young Thunder squad would have like, but they came into the game just 3 games back from .500, with a few impressive wins under their belt. 

"I think we expected a few tough games in Louisiana, knowing that they are a D1 school with quite a bit of talent," head coach Jimmy McDonald said, "we've been progressing throughout the year and picked up some great wins, as well as great experience for a lot of our young guys, so this was just another test of their ability to handle adversity."

In game one of the three game series Manhattan was unable to get anything going early on and the Tigers took full advantage of the inexperience of much of the Thunder lineup. Grambling's Tanner Raiburn threw a no-hitter which included just 103 total pitches, seven strikeouts, and just one walked batter. 

Raiburn threw an impressive 16 first pitch strikes against the 22 Thunder batters he faced, giving them little time to settle into the box and battle with the junior lefty from Wichita, KS on the mound. The Thunder would fall in the first game to the Tigers by a score of 11-0.

In game number two of the series the Thunder were able to gather themselves and give the Tigers all they could handle throughout. Freshman Gerardo Questell got the start for the Thunder and went all six innings throwing 98 pitches and striking out four while on the mound. 

At the plate Thunder were able to get going very early taking a first inning lead of 2-0 over the Tigers that they would hold for two innings before Grambling cut the deficit to 2-1. Getting runners on early in the sixth, and driving one in with just a single out in the inning they were able to bring the score to an even 2-2.

A sacrifice fly by junior infielder Wesley Drain allowed the Tigers to take a late game 3-2 lead over the Thunder that would inevitably lead to a second victory in a row, this time with a final score of 3-2. 

The third and final game for the Thunder unfortunately played out much like the first where Manhattan found themselves in a big hole early on. Staring pitcher senior Ben Rankin had a rough outing giving up 11 runs on 14 hits in just three innings on the mound.

He would be replaced by freshman Steven Paniagua who was unable to slow down the Tiger lineup as he gave up 6 runs on 6 hits in just two innings. It looked like Manhattan would would record a second game in the series as a shutout until late in the seventh inning when they were able to drive home a run on one of three hits in the game. 

The Thunder would fall for a third straight time to the Grambling State Tigers, this time by a score of 18-1. 

Manhattan will be back in action this Friday as they will travel north to Omaha, NE to face the Grace University Royals for a second time this season, as part of a four-game series April 22 and 23. The Thunder swept the Royals at home back in late February, and look to move within two games of .500 if they are able to earn the sweep once more. 

MCC Scoreboard

2/29/2020 | Mens Basketball No. 4 Randall University | W, 88-73 (OT)
2/28/2020 | Mens Basketball No. 3 Arlington Baptist College | W, 94-86 
2/26/2020 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 7 Ozark Christian College | W, 89-72 
2/22/2020 | Mens Basketball No. 2 Barclay College | W, 91-80 
2/21/2020 | Womens Basketball No. 6 Faith Baptist Bible College | L, 67-62