Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

April 30, 2014

BASEBALL: Western whips Taylor

Western baseball team begins MIC title defense in style

Even though his team entered Tuesday’s Mid-Indiana Conference opener with Taylor owning a 5-4 record, Western baseball coach Quentin Brown has been pleased with his team’s overall level of play.

The program has beefed up its early-season schedule in anticipation for the move to 4A postseason play, and that’s the way Brown wants it. He just wants to see his defense take care of the ball a little better.

Tuesday, the Panthers put all phases of the game together, playing error-free ball behind a strong pitching performance from Morehead State recruit Evan Warden, and pounded out 14 hits in a 16-2 victory over the host Titans at George Phares Field.

It was a first step in the right direction as Western tries to run down a third MIC title in four seasons. The Panthers struck for four runs in the top of the first, then sat through a 45-minute rain delay before returning to build an 11-0 advantage over the next five frames. Taylor prevented the 10-run rule with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth.

The Panthers batted around in a five-run seventh to finish off a full day’s work.

“I’m a perfectionist, and one thing we’ve been talking about is finishing games,” Brown said. “Even though we had a great day at the plate and put up 16 runs, in my mind it should’ve been done earlier simply because we didn’t finish the game fully like we needed to. We’ll learn from that, and hopefully at a later date we’ll be able to finish those types of games.”

Warden (3-0) kept Taylor at bay throughout, scattering six hits in a complete-game effort. He fanned eight and walked just one, setting the Titans in order in the seventh, including a strikeout to end it, after the two-run sixth.

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