SAGU winless at first conference tourney
Baseball team faced No. 16 OKC, Northwood, Wesleyan
Young Lions made strides in first year under Blackmon
Denton sets new record for career hits, edging past Dustin Jett
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University went 0-3 during their first-ever trip to the conference tournament.
The Lions capped the season with an 18-33 won-lost record. Facing eleven consecutive games against nationally ranked teams led to thirteen straight losses to end the season. They were 18-20 before running out of gas down the stretch.
SAGU was held to two runs or less nine times in the final 13 contests.
Under the veteran leadership of Head Coach Sam Blackmon the Lions, with 21 freshmen and sophomore on their 29 man roster, earned their stripes. Defensively the club set an all-time record for turning double plays.
The experience gained at the tourney validated the progress the squad showed this spring while still reminding of the need for better hitting and pitching.
SAGU dropped all three of their games in the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament in pool play. Oklahoma City University hosted the action at their home, Jim Wade Stadium.
The Lions fell to No. 16 ranked OKCU (33-16) in a heartbreaking 2-1 setback. Behind the excellent pitching of sophomore ace, Jarrod Pisors (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS), the Lions had a 1-0 lead until the Stars scored single runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings.
Pisors (5-7) yielded 10 hits and one walk while fanned six batters.
Collecting only four hits, SAGU scored their only run in the seventh when senior Nick Sheffield (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) drove in courtesy-runner freshman Collin Gifford (Dodge City, Ks / Dodge City HS).
The other hits came off the bats of junior Preston Hornbeck (McKinney, Tx / McKinney HS, Hesston College), freshman Clay Gentle (Fredericksburg, Tx / Fredericksburg HS) and senior catcher Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS).
Northwood University (34-18) wore down the Lions, pulling away from a close game in an 11-1 defeat. The Knights used 15 hits, eight of them for extra bases, including four home runs, to distance themselves from a Purple Pride team that struggled at the plate.
SAGU did manage eight base hits, but they were scattered over nine innings.
Hornbeck, the shortstop, racked up three in four trips to the dish. Sophomore Raul Castro (Garland, Tx / Richardson Berkner HS, Hillsdale College) knocked in senior Jeremy Cross (Americus, Ga / Harker Heights HS, Univ. of Dallas) for the lone Lions tally.
The remaining three hits were from sophomore Bryant Threadgill (Whitewright, Tx / Whitewright HS, Dallas Christian College), Denton and a double by freshman Tallon Ralstin (Cortez, Colo / Cortez HS).
Freshman Pedro Ortiz (Lorena, Tx / Lorena HS) was tagged with the loss (3-9). Gifford and Tucker Burt (North Richland Hills, Tx / Westlake Academy), both freshmen, pitched the final five innings.
Texas Wesleyan University avenged a 3-2 home loss to SAGU this spring by getting to Cross, the southpaw before he could establish a groove. Cross pitched a complete game victory against them in the last meeting between the teams.
The Rams poured it on against five Lions pitchers in what became a forgettable 25-5 season-ender for SAGU.
TexWes, who was shutout in their first two games by OKCU and Northwood, totaled 24 hits in seven innings and were aided by five walks and four errors. Coach Blackmon was able to get twenty players into the game, with all four seniors seeing their last collegiate action.
The Pride trailed 6-0 before scoring twice in the bottom of the second inning. The Rams answered with six in the third before the Lions countered with three in the bottom of that inning. Leading 12-5 Wesleyan broken the game wide-open with five in the fourth and then tacked on four in both the fifth and seventh frames.
Ten of the Rams hits went for extra bases, four of them clearing the fence.
SAGU had 12 hits, though few were bunched together. Castro and Gentle each went 2-for-3 to lead the way.
Eight Lions registered one hit; freshman Josh Terry (Daingerfield, Tx / Daingerfield HS), freshman Matthew Scheaffer (Crockett, Tx / Crockett HS, Howard Payne Univ), freshman Jonathan Santiago (Arlington, Tx / Bowie HS), Denton, Hornbeck, Gifford, Sheffield and Ralstin.
Santiago had two runs batted in (RBI) while Schneider, Ralstin and Scheaffer had the others. Santiago's double was the lone XBH and just the second in the tournament by SAGU.
Cross (3-5) absorbed the loss. Hornbeck and Sheffield combined for eight assists from shortstop and third base.
Diamond Notes: Denton plays the hits 182 times
Denton finished with 182 career hits, eclipsing Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS). He held the previous mark at 180.
SAGU will begin releasing the names of recently signed recruits over the next two weeks and throughout the summer.
The SAC Championship game will be played Monday at one o'clock. No. 16 Oklahoma City (35-16) clashes with No. 1 ranked Oklahoma Baptist University (49-6).
During the regular season the Bison won the series, two games to one. The Stars took the opener, 5-3, before OBU handed OKCU a pair of one-sided setbacks, 12-1 and 17-4.