Bronchos First Games on the New Wendall Simmons Field
Junior Jake Dyer, No. 4, runs to the first base after hitting the ball at the UCO vs Pittsburg State baseball game at the Wendell Simmons Field on March 24, 2017. (Vista Archives)
The University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos ended the week with a 3-1 record on the all-new Wendall Simmons Field by scoring season highs in runs.
This week marks the Bronchos first official games on their new field that features an outfield wall and artificial turf. Paid for by UCO alumnus and founder of Paycom, Chad Richison, with a donation of $4 million to the university’s sporting facilities.
“The new turf is awesome,” said senior outfielder Jake Dyer. “It’s nice having a flat surface to play on, making the play of the ball more true.”
Pre-game BP all set up for our Home Opener today at 2:00pm @ucoathletics #RollChos pic.twitter.com/AAn19wcCfa
— UCO Baseball (@UCOBaseball) February 7, 2018
The Bronchos started their home opener on Wednesday with a loss to the Missouri Southern Lions 3-1, but bounced-back by winning a three game series against the East Central Tigers. The Bronchos won all three meetings against ECU with scores of 12-2, 6-0 and 12-2, run ruling the Tigers in the 1st and 3rd games.
“We played better [this week] I think than we did the week before,” said UCO Head Baseball Coach John Martin. “But, we have a long way to go.”
Because of the two run ruled games and the scheduled seven-inning game, a part of Friday’s double-header, UCO only played seven-innings in each game. Out of the overall 21 innings played, the Bronchos scored at least one run in 15 of them, also recording a season-high six runs in an inning, in two of the games.
“I just wanted the team to focus on us getting back to how we know we can hit,” Dyer said. “We did that.”
The Bronchos recorded nine hits in the first game, 12 hits in the second and 13 hits in the third. Out of the 34 hits, six were home runs. Both Dyer and Xavier Freeman hit two home runs while Caleb Peters and Cole Sanderson both hit one.
“I did not start off the season very well at the plate” Dyer said. “So, this series I really focused on trying to attack the fastball and drive it to the right side.”
The Bronchos started the season 1-4, but with the three wins this week, the Bronchos are back even with a 4-4 record.
“I think the biggest thing is we’re just trying to figure out who we are,” Martin said. “So, we just have to take it game by game, day by day and just try to get better and play with some confidence.”
UCO is tied with Emporia State for the longest current win streak in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Conference. They will try to keep the momentum with two games remaining in their six game home stand. UCO will play Southeastern Oklahoma in their next game Tuesday after Southeastern beat UCO 7-6 on Feb. 3rd with a walk-off RBI single.