University of Missouri-St. Louis relief ace Kyle Renaud earned saves in both games of a doubleheader sweep over visiting Illinois-Springfield on Sunday, to became the school’s all-time single-season saves leader, while also helping UMSL extend its season-long winning streak to nine games.
“This is one of the goals I had set for myself,” Renaud said, after a 2012 season in which UMSL set a new school-record for complete games, which meant his chances for relief appearances was limited. “I appreciated the opportunity I had last year, but I viewed what I could do as a lot higher. I just wanted to set the bar to where if we were winning after seven (innings), we knew what we were doing (to finish the game out).”
And boy, has Renaud been spectacular finishing out games this year.
His two saves on Sunday, give him 12 on the season, which tops an UMSL school record that was set 20 years ago (Greg Shepherd – 11).
Renaud has also move into a tie with three others for the second-most saves in the country this year. The national leader, Zach Loraine of Coker College in South Carolina has 13 saves this year.
“I just thank (Coach Brady) for the opportunity he’s given me,” Renaud said. “And honestly, the other thing is, we just have the best damn defense in the league. That makes it easy for a guy like me. I know if I throw it in the strike zone, they’re not going to hit it where they’re not. These guys are going to catch it for me.”
That certainly was the case on Sunday, as Renaud breezed through two more clean appearances — with the help of a couple of sparkling defensive plays — to get the save in both 2-0 wins over the Prairie Stars.
Starters Zach Standefer (3-2) and Nolan Clayton (6-3) were the winning pitchers in Games 1 and 2, after throwing a combined 13 2/3 shutout innings at UIS.
Standefer was brilliant in the opener, going 7 2/3 innings, and allowing just five hits and one walk, with six strikeouts. And Clayton was even better. He allowed just three hits and struck out five, with no walks, in six innings work.
“Our staff is really deep,” Renaud said. “We’ve got guys with some real talent that can’t even buy innings. It’s nice to be on a staff with so much talent.”
At the plate, UMSL didn’t exactly crush the ball in either game against UIS. But the Tritons did manage to scratch across runs when they needed them late in Game 1 and early in Game 2, to make for a fairly easy sweep of the Prairie Stars.
The two victories raised UMSL’s record to 23-15 overall this year, and 19-9 in Great Lakes Valley Conference games, which remains second in the GLVC West behind Drury, which is 21-7 in conference play.
On Monday, the Tritons will go for the series sweep of the Prairie Stars, with another GLVC doubleheader at the UMSL Baseball Field. First pitch of Game 1 is set for noon.
GAMEDAY PREVIEW — UMSL BASEBALL 2013
UIS PRAIRIE STARS (10-26) at UMSL TRITONS (23-15)
UMSL BASEBALL FIELD — APRIL 29, 2013 — Noon
UIS — RHP Patrick Woerner (0-4) 4.38 ERA.
LHP James Range (0-7) 10.74 ERA.
UMSL — RHP Andy Flett (2-5) 3.77 ERA.
LHP Brett Wolf (4-2) 4.64 ERA.
UIS Prairie Stars ………………. UMSL Tritons
6 Trevor Johnson – SS …………. 8 Lucas Matecki – CF
7 Nick Sanders – 2B …………… 1 Joe Wieczkowski – 2B
33 Blake Baker – 1B …………… 3 Tyler Bunge – 3B
34 Derek Shomon – DH ………. 9 Charlie Mohr – DH
13 Tyler Lau – RF …………….. 28 Paul Richmond – C
22 Adam Unes – LF …………….. 20 Michael Budka – 1B
16 Kendall Hocker – 3B ………… 7 Drew Standefer – LF
9 Joey Campbell – C …………… 25 John Pilackas – RF
20 Josh Johnson – CF ………….. 14 Justin Lois – SS