Big comeback sparks baseball split with Wiley
SAGU now 7-5 following four-game series
Denton HR, Hagstrom 3-run double ignites Lions from 6-1 deficit
Box Score, Season Stats and Photo Gallery of 700+ pics (links posted below)
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University rallied from a 6-1 deficit to claim a 7-6 triumph in earning a split of a doubleheader with Wiley College on a sun-drenched Saturday afternoon.
The Lions were held scoreless in the opener, a 5-0 loss the Wildcats. It was the first shutout in twelve games for SAGU.
On Friday they also divided a twinbill, falling 8-6, and then winning 7-6.
The Lions’ won-lost record is now 7-5. They will be out of town until they open conference play on February 28 and March 1. That is when Wayland Baptist University visits town.
SAGU will be back in action next weekend, February 21-22 in a four-game series in Austin against Huston-Tillotson University.
GAME ONE: Wiley College wins 5-0
The Wildcats broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning when they combined three hits and three walks to hang a three-spot on the board. The key hit was a two-run double in the left-centerfield gap by Anthony Purcell.
Wiley added solo runs in the next two frames.
A pair of walks sandwiched one hit in the fifth, where two infield errors allowed one run. Erick Magee ripped an RBI double to left-center to knock in the Cats’ final tally.
Meanwhile, Wiley right-hander Zack Long spread three hits through six innings. He walked three and fanned four. Shawn Palmares tossed a hitless seventh.
SAGU got separate hits in the second, third and fourth innings.
In the second, senior Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS ) smacked a leadoff double that drew puffs of chalk down the leftfield line. He was stranded following groundouts to second base, a comebacker to the mound and lastly, a hopper to first base.
In the ensuing inning, Brock Schneider (Arlington, Tx / Martin HS ) poked a one out single to center in front of a walk to Jonathan Santiago (Arlington, Tx / Bowie HS ). A 4-6-3 (second to shortstop to first) double play ended the scoring threat.
The team’s final hit came off the bat of Raul Castro (Garland, Tx / Hillsdale College ). His flair to right-centerfield came with two outs. The next batter grounded out.
SAGU managed a lone baserunner over the final three innings, a leadoff walk to Nathan Bish (Euless, Tx / Lyon College (Ark) ) in the fifth.
The Lions used three pitchers, with Pedro “Tres” Ortiz (Lorena, Tx / Lorena HS ) absorbing the loss. He went three and one-third innings, surrendering three earned runs on two hits. He walked four and struck out two. Three of the bases on balls were awarded to batters on tight calls by the umpire.
Bryant Threadgill (Whitewright, Tx / Whitewright HS, Dallas Christian College ) permitted five hits and three walks in two and two-thirds. One of the two runs he yielded was earned. He struck out one.
Sal Rico (Houston, Tx / Mt. Carmel ) hurled the seventh, giving up a walk and a strike out.
Wiley outhit the Lions by a 7-3 count and finished with an 8-3 margin in walks.
“We simply walked too many batters,” stated Head Coach Sam Blackmon. “Plus, our approach to our at bats could’ve been a lot better.”
GAME TWO: SAGU rallies to win 7-6
Wiley grabbed a 6-1 lead after three innings on the strength of seven base hits and three walks.
Keenan Allison, a tall senior outfielder, blasted a solo homer over the 30-foot fence in leftfield, a drive of well over 320 feet.
Jose Cabreja, batting later in the second, pulled a two-run double to leftfield.
They tacked on two more in the third, both crossing the plate on a single to right by Jose Ortiz.
The first four runs, all earned, were charged to left-handed starter Jeremy Cross (Americus, Ga / Harker Heights HS, Univ. of Dallas ). He was touched for five hits and four walks.
Permitting single runs were relievers Rico and Clay Gentle (Fredericksburg, Tx / Fredericksbrg HS ).
SAGU’s only run was supplied when Denton went to the Indonesian island of Krackatoa.
Like the famous volcanic eruption in 1883, he kracked a 1-1 pitch for a solo shot over the leftfield wall in the bottom of the second.
Still trailing 6-1 in the fourth stanza, Team Purp marshaled a six-run inning to seize control of the lead and the game.
The rally bore little resemblance to a big inning at the start. With two outs, two runners were on board via an error and a walk.
Then the hit parade marched down Main Street.
Josh Terry (Daingerfield, Tx / Daingerfield HS ) singled to center to drive in a run. Senior Nick Sheffield (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS ) smacked a hot shot to third and beat the throw to load the bases for Erick Hagstrom (Universal City, Tx / Lubbock Christian Univ).
A 6’4 transfer sophomore, he unloaded on an opposite field drive that bounded to the fence. The bases-clearing double was the game’s defining hit! He took third on the throw to the plate.
Down 6-5, the Lions were not finished.
Schneider knocked him in with a ground shot near first base. Santiago earned a free pass to first, then, along with Schneider, advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch.
Knotted at six, SAGU scored what turned out to be the winning run. Gentle’s grounder to shortstop forced a high throw as Schneider dashed to the dish.
A groundout ended the rally, but the damage was done. The six run fourth was the result of four hits, two walks, two errors, and a wild pitch.
Castro took the mound as the Lions’ fourth pitcher.
The righty finished the game by blanking the Wildcats on one hit and one walk.
He allowed a one-out double to left-center, and then balked the runner to third.
Bearing down, Castro sat down the next batters on a pop-up to Sheffield at first and a fly to Schneider in left.
The heart of the Wiley order went quietly in the sixth, none getting the ball past the infield.
Nursing the narrowest of margins in the seventh, Castro got the leadoff batter on a groundout. After walking the next man, the 6-foot-2 pitcher set down the last two hitters on infield pops to shortstop Preston Hornbeck (McKinney, Tx / Heston JC ) and in foul territory to Sheffield at first.
“We found ourselves in a hole in the second game,” recalled Blackmon. “But we countered with a series of quality at bats. We had great contribution through the entire lineup.”
Unlike the first game, the bats came alive under duress.
“Denton gets the big home run to start it off,” the coach added, smiling. “Then it was Terry, Sheffield and the big three-run shot by Hagstrom. Schneider’s big hit and hustle paid big dividends too.”
The first year skipper also praised the bullpen.
“Gentle and Castro did a great job of coming in the last innings and keeping game under control for us.”
“I am really proud of the resilience the guys showed in the second game and in the series as a whole.”
The team played similarly in protecting a 7-6 victory on Friday, helping SAGU split the four-game series.
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