Baseball wins 4th-in-last-six
SAGU sweeps Arlington Baptist in DH
Davis, Spivey, Rhino shutdown Patriots
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- Behind the stellar pitching of a pair of freshman right-handers, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team swept Arlington Baptist College on Tuesday, 2-1 and 7-2.
The twinbill was played at QuikTrip Park, the home of minor league baseball's Grand Prairie AirHogs.
By taking both ends of the double-dip, the Lions kept alive their chances of qualifying for the Central Regional tournament of the National Christian College Athletic Association. That event will be held in Denver during May 3-5.
SAGU has now won 4-of-their-last-6 games and is currently 15-25 overall. That is five more wins than last season's 10-30 ballclub. In fact, no Purple Pride team has won more than 15 since the 2006 team went 20-21.
This weekend's series in Tyler, a three-game set against Texas College (24-22-1, 13-9-1 in RRAC), is critical for the Lions if they are to have post-season life. The teams have a single game on Friday at 2:00pm, followed by a Saturday doubleheader at noon.
In the opener, a 2-1 win, Rockie Davis (Santa Fe, Tx / Santa Fe HS) picked up his second win in the past week with a complete game, 85-pitch four-hitter. He struck out eight, six of them swinging, and walked one.
Davis breezed through the side in order three times and retired the Patriots in four on two others. One of those, however, in the fourth, included a solo home run by junior, third baseman Hector Moreno. It came on a 1-2 pitch and drew the Pats to within 2-1.
In tying Chris Stanley (3-1) (Harker Heights, Tx / Harker Hts HS) for the team lead in victories – with three (see players' W-L pitching records - below), he either picked up steam down the stretch or bore down in the clutch. Or both!
After an error by third baseman Kevin Barnes (Weatherford, Tx / Brewer HS) and a two-out double by ABC’s Ryan Wagley, he rang up the leadoff batter, Devin Patton, on four pitches.
Davis needed only four offerings to sit down the 2-3-4 hitters in the sixth. A pop-up to second bagger Jake Spivey (Georgetown, Tx / Harker Hts HS), a deep drive by Moreno that Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) ran down in centerfield and a grounder that Spivey gloved retired the meat of the order.
“He was at his best when it counted,” said head coach Jonathan Shockley. “Rockie can be a good one if he keeps this up,” he said in reference to his recent performances.
“His focus is apparent,” the coach added. “He doesn’t waste pitches. He didn’t give them much to hit and still kept the ball around the plate.”
In fact, he needed less than ten in the first, third and sixth and only reached a three-ball count to the batter he walked.
Jett praised his teammate for his performance. “I only had three balls hit my way,” he said. “He was on his game today. The only real big play (by the SAGU defense) was on the double in the seventh.”
Hilario Vargas drilled Davis’ third delivery to start the last inning. It sailed deep down the leftfield line, bounced and rolled to the wall. Lions leftfielder Mario Mendoza (Ft. Worth, Tx / Grambling State Univ, Poly HS) sped like a homing pigeon to retrieve the ball, spun and propelled it so rapidly that it prevented a would-be triple.
Davis, nursing the narrowest of leads, served up high cheese to shortstop Ivan DeLeon, sitting him down on four pitches. Vargas advanced to third base on a groundout to shortstop Donovan Vess (Ft. Worth, Tx / Eastfield College, Lake Worth HS).
First base was open and, needing one out for the victory, Davis walked pinch hitter Nick Haney.
He went after Wagley with the game on the line. Having doubled in the fifth, the rightfielder dug in. Davis countered, offering only his out-ball. He whiffed Wagley on the fourth pitch.
The Lions got solo runs in the first two innings. Davis made them stand.
Robert Elles (Red Oak, Tx / Tyler JuCo, Red Oak HS), hit an RBI single to score Jett from second base in the first frame. SAGU left the bases loaded that inning.
Mendoza knocked in Spivey (who had singled past third) with a drive to centerfield in the second.
SAGU collected five hits and five walks.
Spivey spells first w-i-n
The second game was similarly well-pitched by Southwestern.
Freshman righty, Spivey, tossed a six inning four hitter as the Lions rolled to a 7-2 triumph. In earning his first collegiate win, he walked four and struck out two while throwing 83 pitches.
He has now yielded just two runs in 10 innings pitched in a pair of starts.
Daniel Reinhardt (Abilene, Tx / Vancouver Christian HS), a powerful sophomore, sat down the side in the seventh by mixing his knuckleball with a fastball. It took Rhino only ten tosses, some dancing, some blazing.
“He really had them off balance,” praised Shockley. “With movement on his knuckler and some real pop on the heater, he was tough to hit.”
SAGU scored four in the first and added three in the second, tagging Matt Guinn with the loss.
Branson Pretorius relieved him, but the damage had been done. Pretorius was impressive, allowing no runs over 5.1 innings. The first twelve batters were unable to produce a hit.
The Lions flew out of the blocks in the first. Jett doubled to leftcenter and scored on a sharply hit single past the shortstop by Vess.
Scene of the Crime: Mendoza's hit-and-run
After a single up the middle by Elles (like Ellis), Coach Shockley called for a hit-and-run.
Mendoza got the sign. And he delivered the goods! He blasted a 1-0 knuckler to the gap in left centerfield, scoring Vess and Elles while he motored into third.
Taylor Froelich (Lee's Summit, Mo / Lee's Summit West HS) sent him home with a hot hopper towards the shortstop.
The Lions doubled their pleasure in the second with five hits, three of them two-baggers.
Deuces Wild: Three doubles in the second inning
Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NM Military Institute, Gateway Christian HS) struck up the band when he muscled a double to leadoff the inning. Next up, Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS) stroked an encore to leftcenter, sending Chavo home for a 5-0 margin.
Batting on the left side of the plate, Zach Worrell (Ft. Worth, Tx / Central Christian College, LD Bell HS) sent the second pitch to split the gap between center and right for the third straight double. Denton dashed past the dish.
Vess, the team’s best hitter, uncoiled on the next offering, snapping a single to right. After he swiped second, Elles lifted an RBI sacrifice fly to left that scored Worrell.
A Mendoza single chased Guinn, whose knuckler was flatlined for nine hits in less than two innings.
Vess and Mendoza led the SAGU hitting attack with two apiece.
Spivey and Reinhardt, like a law firm, secure with a 7-2 lead after three innings, never allowed anyone their rights to venture beyond first base the rest of the way.
After a single to start the fourth, Spivey called the hostess as the following nine batters had a seat reserved.
A walk in the sixth was erased on an unassisted double play turned by Vess.
Spivey got a dozen Patriots to fly out; two to strike out, a groundout, the Vess twin-killing and a first inning Froelich throw that tased a runner trying to steal second.
Making amends for rainouts
SAGU might still reschedule a doubleheader at LeTourneau University, currently 13-21, or a three-game set against Huston-Tillotson University (4-32, 1-17 in RRAC). Should the teams be able to agree, the make-up dates would likely be next week.
Lions Pitching W-L Records