The Seward County Community College baseball team was led by freshman Michael Drzazga in their season-opening non-conference doubleheader split on Sunday afternoon against Clarendon College. The Saints hammered the Bulldogs 16-7 in game-one, with 14 of their runs coming in the final four innings of the game. The No. 17 nationally-ranked Saints were defeated 11-7 in the nightcap, with the game lasting just five innings due to darkness. The Saints belted out 23 runs on 20 hits in their first two games on the field in live competition this spring. Seward County is now 1-1 overall this season.

Drzazga, a freshman outfielder/designated hitter from Mississauga, Ontario, had a career day in his first collegiate game. Drzazga led the Saints at the plate going 4-for-5 with four runs scored, two doubles, and a grand slam and led all players with six runs batted in.

In game-one, the Saints trailed 6-2 heading into the top of the fourth inning and then exploded for four runs in the fourth inning, two runs in each the fifth and sixth innings and put up six runs in the seventh frame.

The Saints started the fifth inning with a lead-off single from Drzazga, and catcher Luke Hardcastle followed with a hit-by-pitch. After a Kai Kirby fly out to centerfield, Stu Schlemeyer recorded an RBI groundout and Austin Roff hit an RBI triple to centerfield to give the Saints an 8-6 lead. The big inning for the Saints that capped off their game-one victory was in the seventh inning, when SCCC tallied four base hits including Drzazga’s grand slam, which gave the Saints a nine run advantage.

Schlemeyer went 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored, and Bo Merrell went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI in game-one. Saints freshman Karl Whitley entered the game in the fourth inning in relief of Saints starting pitcher, Christian Kowalchuk, to record the victory on the mound. Whitley pitched four innings allowing one hit, one earned run and posting seven strikeouts with four walks.

In game-two, the Saints grabbed an early 3-0 lead in the first inning on two singles with two outs. Merrell recorded a two-run RBI base hit to right field and Drzazga followed with his seventh RBI of the day with a one-run single to left field.

Clarendon jumped back in the game after trailing 5-1, with five runs in the third inning to chase Saints starter Tomas Cruz from the game. Cruz, a right-handed pitcher from Amarillo, Texas, started game-two and pitched 2.2 innings, allowing seven hits, six earned runs with one strikeout.

Seward County and Clarendon exchanged runs in the fourth inning, and the Saints tied the game 7-7 on towering home run to center field by second baseman Bo Merrell in the fifth inning. The Bulldogs won the game in the bottom of the fifth inning scoring four runs on two hits, as Saints reliever Chris Johnson received the loss in his only inning of relief. Merrell went 2-for-3 with three RBI, Drzazga went 2-for-3 and sophomore first baseman Erik Hegstad went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and a solo home run.

The Saints will continue non-conference competition on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at Brent Gould Field against Lamar C.C. The non-conference doubleheader is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first-pitch.