Rockie Mountain High for Lions
Lions sweep Tigers in 4-games
Vess, Chavo drive in 5 to back Davis' three-hitter
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team completed a four-game sweep of Central Christian College (Ks) on Saturday afternoon with a 9-0 rout of the visiting Tigers. SAGU is now 7-0 and off to their best start ever under new head coach Jon Shockley.
Freshman righthander Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS) pitched a complete-game, three hit shutout for his first collegiate win. He didn’t walk a single batter, though he did hit two with inside pitches. He struck out four, all swinging. The Tigers (0-8) advanced only one runner as far as second base during the nightcap.
Davis (1-0), who wastes little time on the mound, was in control from start to finish. He had thrown just 63 pitches entering the sixth inning and finished with 90. Thirteen of the 21 outs were made by the infield, who turned three double plays.
Centerfielder Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) gloved three of the four balls hit out of the infield, with Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NM Military Institute, Gateway Christian) snaring the final out in right.
Southwestern got the only runs they would need as fast as Houdini tied his shoelaces.
Mario Mendoza (Ft. Worth, Tx / Grambling State Univ, Polytechnic HS) walked in four pitches and Jett smacked a single past the shortstop. #3 batter Donovan Vess (Ft. Worth, Tx / Eastfield College) drove a fullcount pitch between left and center that scored both runners for a 2-0 lead.
The Lions extended their lead with two more in the bottom of the fourth. Jett ripped an RBI double to rightcenter to score Mendoza, who walked four times in the game. The lear Jett zoomed home easily on a frozen rope to left by Taylor Froelich (Lee’s Summit, Mo / Lee’s Summit West HS), who tagged an 0-2 offering from Jay Banks.
Going for the jugular in the next frame, SAGU tacked on a three-spot.
Riley Hensel (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS) smoked an 0-2 Banks deposit into rightcenter for a leadoff double. A patient Chavez then sent a 3-2 fastball up the middle and came home two batters later on a sacrifice fly to right off the bat of Jacob Spivey (Georgetown, Tx / Harker Heights HS).
What happened next was a brief lapse in focus that unraveled quickly for the seventh run.
Mendoza coaxed his fourth base on balls and then swiped second with two outs. With Jett at bat, a passed ball allowed him to move to third. Banks settled in and fanned Jett on a 2-2 pitch that not only nipped the outside corner of the plate, but was dropped by the catcher, Hunter Gaut.
An alert Jett darted towards first. Gaut recovered the ball and looked to gun it to his first baseman, who was slow to react. After a pause, he fired the ball, but Jett was safe. Apparently caught off-guard again, the first baseman failed to see Mendoza breaking from third.
His run was the coup de grace in what was a friendly series between head coaching friends, Shockley and CCC’s Aaron Childress. Shockley was the head coach at Central, in McPherson, Kansas, last year.
The young Tigers, with 21 freshmen, otherwise played solid defense and pitched fairly well in the series. They allowed an average of just 6.7 hits per game. Surrendering 18 walks in the series, however, cost dearly.
SAGU finished off the Striped Cats with two more in the sixth. Froelich (FRAY-lick), batting clean-up, walked on four pitches. An out later, Kevin Barnes (Weatherford, Tx / Brewer HS), a 5’8 freshman, batted for Hensel. He clobbered the first pitch thrown his way in his first official college at bat, sending it in the left-centerfield gap for a two-bagger.
Both Adam O’Banion (Peoria, Az / Raymond Kellis HS), running for Froelich, and Barnes dashed home when “Chavo” lined a 1-0 pitch to rightcenter.
Chavez led the attack with two hits and three RBI’s. Jett was also 2-for-4, scoring twice. Vess was 1-for-3 with an RBI. SAGU, who outhit the Tigers 8-3, could’ve scored more, but left 10 men on base.
“I’m happy for Rockie, Adam and Kevin,” the head coach said. “They all had memorable firsts in their career today.”
“We capitalized on our chances and took advantage of some errors by Central. We hit better this game than any other game, even though this was the best pitcher (Banks) we've seen this season,” the coach continued.
SAGU hosts doubleheader on Tuesday
The Lions have two more non-conference games this week before they hit the road for their first series in the Red River Athletic Conference. On Tuesday, February 7, SAGU will host Dallas Christian College at the Waxahachie Sports Complex.
The doubleheader will start at 3:00pm.
Next weekend they travel 450 miles for three games against the University of Texas at Brownsville. Fans can follow those games via an internet audio service by UTB.
The Scorpions, who received votes in the Top 25 Coaches Poll, were 35-26 last year when they made the NAIA playoffs.