UMHB Baseball wins three in a row against Sul Ross

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Special to the Journal

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor baseball team scratched across runs in the sixth and eighth innings to erase an early deficit and clutch Cru relief pitching made it stand up in a 4-3 victory over Sul Ross State Friday night in Belton.

Sul Ross State grabbed a 2-0 lead on RBI doubles from Connor Griffith and Chris York in the top of the third inning. UMHB tied it on Zack Whiddon’s RBI grounder and a throwing error in the bottom of that frame. The Lobos retook the lead on Eli Gallego’s RBI single in the top of the fifth, but the Cru tied the game on Justin Dingman’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth. UMHB loaded the bases on a hit batter, an infield single and a walk in the bottom of the eighth. Riley Davis blooped a single over shortstop scoring Whiddon with the go-ahead run, but the Cru left the bases loaded in the bid for some insurance runs. K.J. Stark came on to pitch the ninth and set the Lobos down after a two-out walk put the tying run on base to earn his first save of the season.

Nick Hayman earned his first collegiate win to move to 1-0 on UMHB. Hayman scattered two hits and struck out two batters in three and two-thirds innings of relief work. Aaron Barteau struck out 10 and allowed just two earned run in four and a third innings as the starter for the Cru. Whiddon and Rob Loewe had two apiece for the Cru. Justin Vajgert took the loss for the Lobos to drop to 1-4. He struck out seven, walked four and allowed six hits in eight innings. York had two hits for Sul Ross State, but Lobo hitters struck out 13 times in the game.

UMHB completed a weekend sweep of Sul Ross State by taking a doubleheader from the Lobos Saturday afternoon in Belton. UMHB won game one 6-1 and took game two by a 7-3 score to improve to 5-6 overall and 5-4 in American Southwest Conference play on the season. Sul Ross drops to 5-11 overall and 1-5 in the ASC on the year with the two losses.

The Cru used Seth Hill’s solid pitching and some timely hitting to post a 6-1 victory in game one. Rob Loewe’s RBI single made it 1-0 Cru in the bottom of the first and K.J. Stark singled home a run in the bottom of the second pushed it to 2-1. The Lobos cut the gap to 2-1 in the top of the third, but Stark answered with another RBI single in the bottom of the fourth. UMHB then put three on the board in the bottom of the sixth for some breathing room. Riley Davis scored on an error, Stark doubled home a run and Loewe singled home Stark with the final run. Hill tossed a complete-game, two-hitter to even his record at 1-1. He struck out five and walked two. Stark and Loewe had three hits apiece and combined to drive in five runs. Davis had two hits and scored twice. Eli Gallego took the loss for the Lobos to drop to 2-2. Josh Vasquez had both of the Sul Ross hits in the game.

UMHB broke open a tight game with a three-run sixth inning and cruised to a 7-3 win in game two. Zack Whiddon’s sacrifice fly gave the Cru a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Stark singled home two runs in the bottom of the second to push it to 3-0. The Lobos cut the gap to 3-2 with single runs in the third and fifth before UMHB put three on the board in the sixth. Davis had an RBI fielder’s choice and another run scored on an error before Will Stafford singled home the final run of the inning. The Lobos scored a run in the top of the eighth, but the Cru added Heath Spencer’s RBI double in the bottom of the eighth to provide the final margin. Kreece Cooper struck out 10 batters and scattered four hits over five innings to even his record at 1-1. Justin Dingman had two of UMHB’s seven hits. Four Cru pitchers combined to strike out 15 Lobos in the contest. Ryan Todd took the loss for Sul Ross and Gallego and Shane Sawyer had two hits each in the loss.