By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s Zach Postoak pitched like someone in a hurry to go on spring break Tuesday in the second game of a doubleheader against Southeast Nebraska Tuesday.
Postoak needed only 61 pitches, 43 of which were strikes, to throw a four-hit shutout as the Jets completed a sweep of the doubleheader, 2-0. It was NOC Enid’s first shutout of the season.
The Jets run-ruled the Storm 14-1 in the first game, taking advantage of 10 walks and a hit batter. Brandon Ruiz and Christian Faulkner each hit three-run homers for the Jets, 22-7.
“This was kind of like a trap game for us,’’ said NOC Enid coach Raydon Leaton. “Everybody was ready to go home for four days. We’re happy to be 22-7 at the halfway mark and take off some days to recharge our batteries.’’
Postoak didn’t allow a hit until the fourth. The Storm only had one runner reach third. Southeast Nebraska had runners on second and third in the fifth when Postoak got Jake Henne to ground out.
“I just spotted my fastball, and the defense played good behind me (only error came on a pick-off play),’’ Postoak said. “I just concentrated like I normally would. When the defense is playing behind me like that, I have a lot of faith in them.
Southeast Nebraska starter Zach Ziemba limited the Jets to five hits until leaving in the sixth.
“Defense and pitching won that game for us,’’ Leaton said. “Zach pitched his guts out.’’
“Throwing strikes was the key,’’ Postoak said. “If you get guys on, we still have to let them put it in play, and hopefully, good things will happen.’’
Postoak had a little extra incentive to get the shutout. Leaton told the pitchers they can hit in batting practice if one of them throws a shutout.
“It feels really good, really good,’’ Postoak said. “That’s what we’re focused on. We’re finally getting to hit.’’
“That ought to be an awful sight,’’ Leaton said with a laugh.
Postoak, 3-1, got all the support he would need in the first when Logan Bradley drove in Dusty Harper with a double. The Jets had two runners thrown out at the plate in the inning.
NOC Enid got an insurance run in the sixth when Faulkner singled and scored after walks to Harper, Tanner Cruts and Tyler Wilkins.
Lead-off hitter and center fielder J.R. Head sat out the second game after being hit by a pitch on the arm in the opener.
“He couldn’t feel his arm, so we rested him as a precaution,’’ Leaton said. “He was getting the feeling back. He’ll be OK.’’
Woodward’s Shawn Hun-ter allowed only four hits, and struck out five in the opener. He did not walk a batter. He raised his record to 4-0.
“Shawn and Zach both threw well,’’ Leaton said.
While Hunter was on target, the Storm pitchers weren’t. Seven of the 10 batters who walked scored as did Head in the third when he was hit by a pitch with the bases load.
Ruiz’s homer over the left field fence capped off a four-run first. Faulkner homered over the right field wall in the second after Head and David Menger walked.
NOC Enid added six runs in the third on only two hits. Bradley’s two-RBI single was the big blow.
Faulkner had a bases-loaded walk, while Blake Callaway had a sacrifice fly for another RBI.
Tyler Walker had a bases-loaded walk in the fourth to bring in Cruts. Head, Faulkner, Ruiz, Cruts and Menger all scored twice.
The Jets have scored 10 or more runs 10 times, including four times in the last six games.
“The guys are pretty excited about spring break,’’ Postoak said.
“These were big wins. We all should have a good spring break.’’
The Jets return to action March 27 at Pratt, Kan.