Jones, Wherland Erupt vs Texas Wesleyan
Rams overcome Cat Bats, sweep series
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The dormant bats of the Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team came to life over the weekend in a three-game set against the perennial powers of Texas Wesleyan University. After netting just 26 runs in their first nine league games, the Lions erupted for 29 at the Waxahachie Sports Complex.
While the Cat Bats were rolling to 10 runs a game in a season-best series, the pitching staff and defense were too generous as the Rams (10-7, 8-4 in RRAC) overcame deficits and swept the trio of games.
SAGU (4-15, 0-12 in RRAC) lost the opener on Friday, 15-14, by surrendering a pair of five-run leads that set the trend of the weekend. Wesleyan took the first game on a cool, blustery Saturday doubleheader, 16-7. In the nightcap the Rams outlasted the Lions by a 19-8 count.
Still, the increase at the plate was as pleasing as a buffet to a hungry lumberjack.
Report Card: Favorable
A recap of the three games reveals progress by the Lions in several areas; reduction of errors in the field, better control on the mound – yielding less walks, as well as the obvious – big bats making noise.
The weather conditions on Saturday were far from ideal for a rebuilt Southwestern pitching staff, especially considering the opposition. There was a 20 mph northerly wind gusting in the face of those on the mound, dropping the wind chill into the high 30's. Those factors, however, did little to affect the Wesleyan staff.
TWU won the Red River Athletic Conference tournament last spring, going 4-1 in the double-elimination event. The Rams then lasted five games in the NAIA national tourney.
Game One: Rams win in 10, 15-14
The Lions offense rose up and knocked out the Rams' ace, building 6-1 and 12-7 leads before the bullpen surrendered seven runs in the 7th and 8th innings. SAGU rallied to tie the score at 14 in the bottom of the 9th with a bases loaded walk and a passed ball. With the bases loaded and only one out, the Jungle Kings had a golden opportunity to win the opener. Then Lions' #2 and #3 batters struck out.
Wesleyan scored what turned out to be the winning run on a leadoff double and a sacrifice fly. SAGU had the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the 10th but the rally and the game ended on another strike out.
"In my nine years here," pointed out Clay Scarborough, Assistant Coach, "I have not seen a SAGU team fight as hard. We held two solid leads; once our starter could not hold it, once our bullpen couldn't hold it. Wesleyan fought just as hard."
SAGU had many standout performers. Jared Jones (Copperas Cove, Tx / Copperas Cove HS) drove in four runs, including a 3-run jack that gave the team a 6-1 lead. The defense was perfect, committing zero errors. Wesleyan had six.
After Wesleyan scored four in the top of the sixth, SAGU answered with four of their own. Runs batted in that inning came off the bats of Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS), Jones and DuJuan Prater (Copperas Cove, Tx / Copperas Cove HS).
Jones led a 13-hit, eight walk attack with a 3-for-6 game. Patrick Wherland (Petrolia, Tx / Petrolia HS), Cameron Ward (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) and Prater each had a pair of hits, with Wherland ripping doubles. Jett scored thrice from his leadoff position.
The bottom half of the line-up was fairly silent other than Dominic Denney's (Albuquerque, NM / LaCueva HS) four walks and one hit that led to three runs.
Ward pitched the first six frames, scattering 12 hits and nine runs – eight of them earned. The senior lefty fanned a pair of Rams and didn't issue a single walk. The pen went four innings, giving up six hits, six earned runs, walking three and striking out one. Tim Kolczak (San Antonio, Tx / Taft HS) hurled the last two innings, and gave up a lone hit and one run, the 15th, which pinned the loss onto his record.
Game Two: Rams Tough in 16-7 triumph
Wesleyan breaks open a 6-5 game in the third with a 9-spot en route to the win. After an RBI single by Jones, Wherland crushed a 2-run dinger during the Lions' three-run first inning. The Rams scored six times – all with two outs.
The Rams went for the jugular, parlaying many of their eight extra-base hits and eight walks during a decisive 9-run third to extend their lead to 15-5 and coasted from there. After a rough start, Daniel Milliman settled down and picked up the win, teaming up with Jacob Lyons to hold the Lions at bay the rest of the way. Milliman struck out eight and walked one.
SAGU's pitching bright spot was the work of middle reliever Trevor Schexneider (Elizabethtown, Ky / Elizabethtown HS). The sly southpaw tossed four and two-third innings, yielding one run (earned), zero walks, two strike outs and just three hits. Chris Stanley (Harker Heights, Tx / Ellison HS) took the loss.
Wesleyan outhit the Lions by a 13-11 count, and both teams committed three errors.
Wherland, the senior with clout, posted a 3-for-4 outing, knocking in three runs on a HR and a double. Jett, Jones and Ward each collected two hits. Southwestern's other RBI's were credited to Jones, Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NMMI, Gateway HS) and Ward's run-producing single in the seventh.
Game Three: Loss of 5-3 lead due to errors and Big Horn Bats
Southwestern completed the three games with a third consecutive effort on the mound with marked improvement in control. However, the Rams took advantage of seven infield errors and put the game away with nine runs in the last two innings for a 19-8 victory.
SAGU got to Wesleyan starter, Nathan Barker, for seven hits and five runs, sending him to an early shower after just two innings. The Rams relief corps, however, proved up to the task. They allowed just three runs over seven innings. Four pitchers combined to permit five hits while consenting to four walks. They whiffed five.
Wesleyan scored two in the top of the first before a Prater single drove in a run at the bottom of the inning. After the Rams tacked on another tally, the Purple Pride pieced together a three-run second on key hits by David Gomez (Del Rio, Tx / Bowie HS), Jett and Jones – all RBI's, for a 4-3 SAGU lead.
The advantage grew by one thanks to an RBI base knock by Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS).
That's when the gloves and arms failed the hosts. TWU took the lead with three in the top of the fourth, all unearned runs. They followed that with four more unearned runs in the 5th, forcing SAGU to play catch-up. They couldn't. They did, however, keep battling.
Jett stroked a shot that sent Weston Lippe (Huntsville, Tx / Alpha-Omega) across the plate for an eighth inning run. In the ninth the Pride added a pair of runs by Mike Wherland (Petrolia, Tx / Petrolia HS) and Adam Villarrial (Waco, Tx / Midway HS). Daniel Rinehardt's (Pampa, Tx / Vancouver HS) single drove in Wherland.
Southwestern managed a dozen hits, led by Jett and Prater, who bagged two apiece, with the former credited with two ribbies. Denney scored twice on a hit and a pair of walks.
Nic Morgan (Fort Worth, Tx / Boswell HS) pitched into the fifth inning before exiting. The loss was placed on his record. The relievers didn't help their cause when they hit four batters.
This Week in Baseball
The above phrase was popularized for decades by the famed, late Philadelphia announcer, Mel Allen, who was the voice of the weekly national show by that name on Saturday's.
This week the Lions Junior Varsity squad will play a doubleheader on Thursday, March 10, when Texas Wesleyan visits Waxahachie.
The SAGU varsity will host Wiley College (8-6, 7-5 in RRAC) for three league games next weekend. On Friday they will host the Wildcats at 6pm at the WSC. The two squads will then meet in a Saturday twinbill that starts with a first pitch at noon.
Hungry to the Complete Baseball Scoop?
For complete team and player statistics, visit the RRAC website at www.RedRiverConference.com. In the left column, click on Baseball. Then, click on SW Assemblies in the standings when they appear. From there viewers can access the team's roster; schedule, statistics (located above the schedule) and can view individual game box scores.
Current Red River Standings
Team/Mascot RRAC Record Overall Mark Pct. Streak
LSU-Shreveport Pilots 9-0 15-7 .682 Won 3
Northwood Univ Knights 7-0 16-5 .762 Won 1
Texas at Brownsville Scorpions 10-2 15-5 .750 Won 3
Texas Wesleyan Rams 8-4 10-7 .588 Won 3
Wiley College Wildcats 7-5 8-6 .571 Won 1
Texas College Steers 4-5 10-11 .476 Lost 1
Huston-Tillotson Univ Rams 5-7 5-7 .417 Lost 1
Jarvis Christian College Bulldogs 5-7 5-11 .313 Won 1
Univ of the Southwest Mustangs 3-9 6-17 .261 Lost 5
Bacone College Warriors 0-9 1-16 .059 Lost 11
SW Assemblies of God Lions 0-12 4-15 .211 Lost 3
Key: Key refers to the current winning or losing streak by each team
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