SAGU pitchers tame Tigers twice
Lions sweep Central Christian, 7-1 and 4-1
Morgan, Stanley pick up wins for Southwestern
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University remained unbeaten in the early stages of the season by taking a pair of games from Central Christian College (Ks), 7-1 and 4-1, at the Waxahachie Sports Complex.
In the first game, senior left-hander Nic Morgan (Ft. Worth, Tx / LeTourneau Univ, Boswell HS) picked up his second win with a solid, six inning performance. He yielded four hits, a lone run in the fourth, walked three and struck out four. Robert Elles (Red Oak, Tx / Tyler JuCo, Red Oak HS), a freshman southpaw, hurled a scoreless, hitless seventh.
The Lions broke a 1-1 tie with four runs in the bottom of the fourth. They iced the game when they tacked on two more in the sixth.
Head Coach Jon Shockley received another impressive effort by the pitching staff in the nightcap. In rolling to five consecutive victories, they have yielded just seven runs.
Three pitchers united to toss a two-hitter, allowing an unearned run. Six walks and a hit batsman kept the winless Tigers in the hunt. Six strike-outs and several defensive gems silenced rallies by Central.
Twin-bill scheduled for Saturday at noon
The teams will play again on Saturday in a noon doubleheader. Anticipated weather for the afternoon calls for mostly cloudy skies with highs in the low 60s. North-northwesterly winds of 15 mph are expected.
SAGU (5-0) will send Mario Mendoza (Ft. Worth, Tx / Grambling State Univ, Polytechnic HS), a senior lefty, and probably Zack Worrell (Ft. Worth, Tx / Central Christian, L.D. Bell HS), a sophomore, to start the third and fourth games in the series. Mendoza (1-0) fired a no-hitter last weekend against Hillsdale College.
Central Christian (0-6) will counter with two Lone Star righties in Jaime Ramos and Jay Banks. The former is from Azle, Texas (northwest of Ft. Worth), while the latter is from nearby DeSoto.
Game One Review
Morgan was more effective than he was spectacular a week ago. He was, however, backed by a clearly improved defense and was benefitted by some base-running gaffes by the Striped Cats.
CCC ran themselves out of a rally in the first when a 9-3-5-6 play nailed a lead runner in the first when two of their first three batters rapped singles. Morgan then retired a string of Tigers until loading the bases in the top of the fourth.
A hit batter, a single and back-to-back passes forced in the tying run. Falling behind in the count cost the rangy lefty. He regrouped and fanned the next Tiger on a 2-2 fastball to end the threat.
After a quick fifth frame, Morgan faced a C-cubed team bent on a comeback. With a runner on base via an infield miscue, the 6’3 former Boswell Pioneer gunned down first-baseman Austin Penn on a 3-2 delivery of high cheese.
Hunter Gaut, the catcher, greeted an 0-1 fastball by lining it to Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NM Military Institute, Gateway Christian) in rightfield. The stout senior captain fielded the ball on one bounce and launched a low laser to the plate. Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS) snared the assist on one bounce and saddled the runner, clean-up batter Brandon McBane, with leather to end the scoring bid.
Earlier CCC gave the Lions similar treatment when they executed a relay that cut down Riley Hensel (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) at home after SAGU had put together three hits in the second.
In fact, the Lions struggled to deliver RBI hits with men in scoring position. They racked up eight hits and six free passes, but only one run was driven in with a base-knock.
Denton walked with the bases loaded in the third, forcing in Mendoza.
The next inning opened with singles off the bats of Chavez – a frozen rope to right, and a hard shot by Nick Sheffield (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS), followed by a base on balls to Spivey. Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) spanked a screamer up the middle for a 2-0 lead.
Mendoza, wearing a target logo on his jersey, was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. It pushed Sheffield, who had four hits on Friday, across the dish. There were still no outs.
A fielder’s choice by Vess scored Spivey and a hot shot ground out to third allowed Jett to score for a 5-1 lead. Mendoza and Vess singled in the sixth and scored the final two runs on Tiger errors.
Game Two Recap
As windy conditions and scattered light showers moved the start of the double-header from a 4:00 to a 1:00pm start, pitchers from both teams struggled with control and tempo.
SAGU sophomore John Savis (Canton, Tx / Canton HS), in his second start following Tommy John surgery, had mixed success. In three and one-third innings he was touched for just one hit and zero runs. He also walked three. His two strike outs ended the first and second innings.
He exited with one out in the fourth after a hit and a walk on five pitches.
“I could never find a rhythm,” he said later. “Getting my timing down was tough, I just couldn’t get it today.”
Coach Shockley called for senior Chris Stanley (Harker Heights, Tx / Harker Heights HS). After hitting the first batter on a 2-2 offering to load the bags with Big Cats, Stanley steamed.
The next two batters whiffed on eight pitches.
Game-changing call in the fourth
Not reflected in the scorebook was the game-changing play that occurred in that sequence.
Senior catcher Wade Wedow was the first of the two to strike out. However, the second pitch hit him in the forearm as he swung at an inside pitch. The ball rolled to third base as though it had been hit on the swing.
Central appeared to have the game’s first run.
But the home plate umpire ruled otherwise. He said the ball was swung at and missed before plunking Wedow. Instead of scoring, he had to return to the plate.
Stanley sat him down on high gas and an outside fastball before ringing up shortstop Justin Gilmore.
Southwestern cashed in on the reprieve. Jett coaxed a walk, and then bolted for second on a steal. Vess, who had two hits and a pair of steals in the first game, smoked a mortar to right-center for an RBI double and a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers, sporting black jerseys with gold numerals, wouldn’t go down easily.
Damon Smith, a senior centerfielder, pounded a leadoff single down the leftfield line. The problem was, on his own, he tried to stretch it into a double. Bing-bang-boom. A Mendoza to Spivey to Vess relay nailed him easily.
Later in the inning, with Larry Jackson at second, Drew Schiesser jacked a shot to right that had Chavo retreating, spinning, then backpeddling. Hit into the teeth of the wind, the ball continued to carry. Just as it appeared to have sailed overhead, the Roswell resident reached high and snared the beaming ball to end the rally.
SAGU iced the game with an insurance run. Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS) pinch ran for Taylor Froelich (Lee’s Summit, Mo / West HS) (pronounced FRAY-lick), who had singled to open the sixth. Davis promptly swiped second base.
Denton gave the rawhide a joyride with the day’s biggest, longest blast. His double to the warning track in leftcenter would have been a triple had he not stopped for photos rounding first! It was his second RBI for the day.
In the first inning, Denton, who played for the Sharyland High Rattlers in the Rio Grande Valley, coiled and struck down the Tigers’ leadoff batter in an ill-fated steal attempt.
Southwestern’s eight-hit attack was led by Denton and Sheffield, each going 2-for-3.
Michael Reeves (Red Oak, Tx / Ovilla Christian), sophomore righty, pitched the seventh to earn his first save. He surrendered a hit and then finished off the Tigers with a 1-2 rising fastball to #5 hitter Shadow Stephenson.
Home twin-bill on Tuesday
SAGU, who are expecting new home uniforms, will play host to Dallas Christian College on Tuesday, February 7. The doubleheader, one of 19 the Lions have on their 2012 menu, is slated for a 1:00pm first pitch at the WSC.