Sophomore pitcher Nathan Bertness (McLennan Athletics courtesy photo.)
MCC sophomore pitcher Nathan Bertness picked up the win on the mound for the Highlanders at Wharton on Saturday. (McLennan Athletics courtesy photo.)

WHARTON – The McLennan baseball team opened the 2015 season on the road with a 9-5 win over the Wharton Pioneers on Saturday.

Sophomore Nathan Bertness picked up the win on the mound. Tucker Johnson led the Highlanders at the plate, going 2-5 with two doubles and two RBIs. Braxton Wilks went 2-3 with two RBIs. Dimas Ojeda and Sydney Daley both picked up an RBI. Brandon Grudzielanek and Mason George both hit a double. Kirby McGuire hit a solo home run.

“Bertness threw the ball very well and commanded all of his pitches. We also had very solid mound performances from Jako Kelm and Dustin Jourdan in relief,” Highlanders head coach Mitch Thompson said. “Our team played solid defense, making all of the routine plays and several really nice plays as well. Offensively, we had competitive at bats up and down the lineup. We did a nice job manufacturing runs today by playing the short game with several bunt hits.”

“Overall, it was a really good performance for the season opener, but we also were able to identify several areas where we can and need to improve,” Thompson added. “We will start working on improving those areas on Monday.”

McLennan returns to action on Wednesday, traveling to Lufkin for a 2 p.m. doubleheader with Angelina.

McLennan 040 200 210 – 9 9 1
Wharton 100 012 001 – 5 10 2
Nathan Bertness, Reece Calvert (5), Jako Kelm (6), Dustin Kordan (8), Collin Sharp (9) and Mason George. Austin Eichman, Will Blanchard (3), Mason Mize (5), Kyle Craft (6), Fernando Martinez (8) and Rene Pineda.

WP: Bertness; LP: Eichman.

Leading hitters – McLennan: Tucker Johnson (2-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI), Brandon Grudzielanek (1-4, 2B), Dimas Ojeda (1-4, RBI), Sydney Daley (RBI), Mason George (1-2, 2B), Braxton Wilks (2-3, 2 RBI) and Kirby McGuire (1-1, HR, RBI); Wharton: Ivan Garcia (1-4, RBI), Austin Zillweger (1-3, RBI), Jacob Barfield (2-5, 2 2B, RBI), Rene Pineda (1-5, 2B, RBI), Charles Guillory (1-2, 2B) and Luke Meza (2-3, 2B, RBI). Record: McLennan 1-0.