Lapses Costly to Baseball Lions
Loss to No. 26 Northwood spoils effort by Ward
SAGU hosts Doubleheader on Saturday at Noon
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Friday night's college baseball game between Southwestern Assemblies of God University and No. 26 Northwood University revealed the impact that mistakes have in competition. One team made several, the other made them pay.
Despite a solid performance on the mound and at the plate by Cameron Ward (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep), SAGU dropped a 13-2 decision that was much closer than the score indicates.
The defeat was the seventh in a row for the Lions, who are now 3-9 overall and 0-7 in the Red River Athletic Conference. Going in the opposite direction with their seventh consecutive triumph, Northwood improved to 11-3 in all games and 5-0 in games against the RRAC.
"Our guys stood tall tonight," said veteran Assistant Coach Clay Scarborough. "The only thing separating us was a few mistakes that we failed to control. It was a hard loss, yes, but I like this team. We aim to eliminate them and improve in the coming games."
He praised the showing by Ward, believing the senior will accomplish more as his consistency advances.
Committing miscues that allowed eight unearned runs to score, and squandering scoring opportunities led to the setback.
The Knights scored three runs in the top of the first innings, two on a double to center by Adam Humes. A misplayed pop up in rightfield and a throwing error from third base preceded the runs. Ward prevented further damage by getting out a jam by striking out a batter and coaxing a ground ball that shortstop Jared Jones (Copperas Cove, Tx / Copperas Cove HS) fielded with his backhand and gunned the baserunner to prevent further damage.
The Lions bid to answer saw them load the bases on a walk and two hit batters. Sean Armstrong (Albuquerque, NM / Manzano HS) was caught off first base by an alert catcher Johnny Aldaz after the second pitch to Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS).
SAGU loaded the bases again against righthander Kane Kimrey (1-0). Denton led off by singling to center. Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NMMI, Gateway HS) walked and Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) beat out an infield hit. The rally ended on a very questionable called third strike to Dominic Denney (Albuquerque, NM / LaCueva HS).
Patrick Wherland (Petrolia, Tx / Petrolia HS) reached first on an infield hit and darted to second when DuJuan Prater (Copperas Cove, Tx / Copperas Cove HS) ripped a frozen rope to centerfield. Ward laid down a perfectly placed bunt that sent Wherland across the plate.
Jones topped a bounder to the left side and beat the throw to first. Prater hesitated off of third base before running home, which proved costly when Humes, the first baseman, threw him out at the plate.
The Knights broke the game open with a 4-spot, parlaying a dropped infield pop-up, and a wild pitch to get things started. Aldaz crushed a deep drive to rightcenter that just eluded a terrific leap by Jett. The two-run double preceded an RBI single up the middle off the bat of Humes.
Prater worked the count for a walk, then gassed his way to third when Ward gave the "rawhide a joyride" on a deep double to RCF. But a towering fly to center short-circuited the rally. The team's inability to get clutch hits with runners in scoring position was expensive.
Meanwhile, the Knights began stringing hits together to turn the game into a rout. They tacked on three in the fifth, another in the sixth and a deuce in the seventh.
SAGU was robbed of an extra base hit when the 6-foot-4 Nico Taylor misjudged a drive to center. He recovered just in time to leap and snare the ball. But he would make an even bigger play moments later. Prater, the Lions' stout first baseman, stepped to the plate. He crushed a mortar shot to the leftfield fence for an RBI triple. Boom-shaka-laka!
His bid to score on a would-be sacrifice fly to Taylor was abolished when he was nailed at the plate on an impressive throw to the dish.
The Lions and Knights play a doubleheader on Saturday at the Waxahachie Sports Complex. The twinbill begins at noon when SAGU sends junior righty Chris Stanley (Harker Heights, Tx / Ellison HS) starts on the mound. Jones is slated to hurl the night cap, but could be bumped depending on how his mending shoulder feels after playing two games at shortstop.
Both Prater and Ward collected two hits and an RBI for Southwestern. Denney, who called a great game behind the plate, and Wherland scored solo runs. Denney and Prater each walked twice.
Ward went four innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out six. He deserved a better fate than the loss. His fastball and curve were very effective as was his command of varied speeds. He walked a pair, both strategically with first base open.
Ward had key moments in his Friday night showing. He struck out Taylor, who is batting .400 with 23 RBI, with two outs and a runner on third base in the second. He got out of another jam in the third, with Knights on second and third. Garrett Yates, the NW third baseman, whiffed on inside cheese.
Another lefthander, Brad Rogers (Springdale, Ark / Greenland HS), tossed two innings in relief of Ward. Northwood got to him for six runs, though only two were earned. Trevor Schexneider (Elizabethtown, Ky / Elizabethtown HS) fired a scoreless seventh, striking out one.
David Gomez (Del Rio, Tx / Bowie HS) made three outstanding stops on the hot corner. The versatile junior moved to third to make way for Jones at shortstop.
Taylor and Will Fontnow each racked up three hits to lead a 13-hit attack for Northwood, with the latter collecting three stolen bases. Aldaz, the clean-up batter, went 2-for-4, driving in three and scored four times. Kane took the win, spreading five hits over six innings. He walked three and fanned five.