Baseball wins, 5-4; splits twinbill with USAO
Killebrew, Pisors team-up on hill, Hagstrom gets winning RBI
Threadgill, Hornbeck, Terry contribute three-hit games on Sat.
Lions host big series vs. St. Greg's next weekend
Current Standings: http://www.soonerathletic.org/
CHICKASHA, Oklahoma -- After allowing two first inning runs, Hayden Killebrew (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) hurled five straight scoreless innings as Southwestern Assemblies of God University came from behind in a 5-4 triumph over the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma on Saturday.
The Lions split the doubleheader when USAO took the nightcap with an 8-2 win.
SAGU retains sixth place in the Sooner Athletic Conference with a 6-10 league mark despite losing the series, 2-1. The Drovers won on Friday, 20-1.
Overall the Purple Pride is 15-19. USAO is 5-10 in the SAC, 14-17 in all games.
Prep mound mate Jarrod Pisors (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) was summoned to preserve the lead in the last two innings. He would earn his career save.
Killebrew gave the team a much-needed boost when he faced ten consecutive batters without allowing a hit. The sophomore allowed only one fly out of the infield in that stretch.
At 6’2, the durable Killebrew retired three batters on pop-ups, two more on groundballs to shortstop, and fanned a pair – one looking, the other swinging.
Meanwhile the Lions battled back. Single runs in the second and fourth knotted the score at two. Nick Sheffield (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS), the senior battle iron, and junior Preston Hornbeck (McKinney, Tx / Hesston Col (Ks)), both sporting beards, were involved in both.
Bryant Threadgill (Whitewright, Tx / Whitewright HS, Dallas Christian College) singled and was advanced to third when “Sheff” laid down a bunt. He trotted home when Hornbeck singled to rightfield.
Sheffield scored the equalizer on an error by the Drovers’ shortstop. He was on base after getting plunked by a pitch and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Hornbeck.
Hornbeck, who holds the Hesston College (Ks) record for career at bats – racking up 262 in two seasons, started the winning rally in the top of the sixth.
He lined a hot smash up the middle. The second baseman fielded the ball cleanly, and then threw late and past first base. Two infield grounders later and Hornbeck was hugging third.
Sophomore Eric Hagstrom (Universal City, Tx / Converse Judson HS, Lubbock Christian) stepped into the box with the lead on the line.
The 6’4 sophomore from a San Antonio suburb ripped a shot that kicked up dirt on the third base side of the shortstop, Francisco Bolanos. He gloved it and threw across his chest in a late bid to nab Hagstrom at first. The infield single drove in Hornbeck to give the Pride a 3-2 lead.
“Both hits in that inning were really big for us,” Blackmon pointed out.
USAO threatened in their half of the sixth.
Killebrew got the leadoff batter swinging, but was pulled with two outs and two on following singles to left and right.
Pitching Coach Chris Semprun called on Pisors, a talented righthander who had been resting his arm for two weeks. He got his man, Bolanos, on a fly to Jonathan Santiago (Arlington, Tx / Bowie HS) in rightfield.
SAGU tacked on two in the seventh. They would need them.
Clay Gentle (Fredericksburg, Tx / Fredericksbrg HS) jumped on an inside pitch and drove it down the leftfield line for a double. Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS), who was given limited selection at the plate during the series, singled sharply to the left side of the infield to push Gentle to third.
After Collin Gifford (Dodge City, Ks / Dodge City HS) came in to run for Denton, Threadgill smacked an RBI hit to right, Hornbeck singled to center to load the bases. Gifford raced home for what turned out to be the eventual winning run on a suicide squeeze bunt by Santiago.
Leading 5-2, Pisors ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh. He hit the first batter with a pitch, and then surrendered an RBI double to rightcenter and a run-producing single through the middle of the infield.
An infield single to third set up the Drovers with two on and just one out. Their No. 5 and No. 6 batters were due to the dish.
Confident in their starting ace, the coaching staff stood behind the Texas pine. Blackmon said the 6’7 Pisors wasn’t in over his head.
He awarded their trust by rising to the occasion.
Warren Stehn, the Drovers second-leading hitter at .379, popped up to Gentle at second. Next up was Eddie Malone. He carried their third-best BA at .358 as well as their highest slugging percentage (.672).
Pisors puffed and bowed up, then rang him up on strikes.
Coach Blackmon sang the praises of both of his pitchers.
About Killebrew, who is now 3-1, he said “…he started off a little anxious and they got two quick runs. Coach Semprun did a really great job of helping him stay composed.”
“He settled in and kept them (USAO) off balance the rest of the way.”
“Jarrod came in and did a great job of finishing it off,” added Blackmon. “It was a good outing from both of them.”
SAGU totaled 11 hits, led by Threadgill and Hornbeck, with three apiece.
Lions build 2-0 lead in fourth in series finale
The Lions and Drovers played six scoreless innings in the third game of the series. All of the game’s scoring took place in the fourth. Otherwise, it was a battle of pitchers.
Freshman left-hander Pedro “Tres” Ortiz (Lorena, Tx / Lorena HS) went through the first three frames without a serious threat. He yielded a few hits, but no walks. Most batters hit the ball on the ground.
SAGU collected just two hits through three innings, both off different pitchers, each off the bat of freshman Josh Terry (Daingerfield, Tx / Daingerfield HS).
The Lions got on the board first.
Threadgill smoked a one-out, double down the leftfield line. For the second straight game Sheffield took one for the team.
It was the fifth time this spring he was hit by a pitch. Moments later he swiped second simultaneously while Threadgill jetted to third.
Hornbeck lined an RBI single to right to break-up the scoreless duel. Santiago followed with a tactically placed bunt that allowed Sheffield to score for a 2-0 lead.
USAO answered with a big inning to chase Ortiz. The Drovers loaded the bases with no outs before Ortiz got the next two hitters, one on an infield fly, the next on a sacrifice fly to right.
Two infield errors jump-started the rally, then two infield singles and a hit batsman opened up what would become an eight-run uprising.
Only three balls exited the infield before Raul Castro (Garland, Tx / Hillsdale College) relieved Ortiz and retired the final batter on a fly to Jeremy Cross (Americus, Ga / Harker Heights HS, Univ of Dallas) in centerfield.
Like the first three innings, the Lions managed only a single by Terry over the final three frames.
Castro did not allow a baserunner the rest of the way.
The Lions, who were outhit, 11-5, received a stellar effort by Terry. The freshman from East Texas improved his batting average to .302 after Saturday.
Science & Arts took the opener on Friday in a 20-1 verdict.
The Drovers lassoed the lead with a commanding 14-run first inning. Doing he damage were twelve hits, a hit batter and five errors before the National Anthem had finished.
SAGU generated their lone run in the top of the third. Santiago poked a line drive to right-center in front of a Brock Schneider (Arlington, Tx / Martin HS) hit to right. Following a passed ball, Santiago scored on a throwing error by the Drovers catcher.
The team managed only two other hits; by Terry and Gentle.
Four pitchers saw action for the Lions with only one, Gifford, experiencing much success. He permitted three hits and no runs in three and one-third innings.
Coach Blackmon sees much to like
“I tip my hat to USAO,” Coach Blackmon said after the series. “Mike (Drovers Coach, Mike Ross) does a great job and his guys really swing the bat well.”
As for how the Lions responded to Friday’s game, “Sometimes things like that game happen and our guys did a great job of putting it behind them. They really got after it today!”
“It was good to get the win in the first game,” he continued. “I thought our effort was great all day in every aspect. I was really proud of our guys and the resiliency and determination they showed throughout the series.”
SAGU hosts Cavs in DH at WSC on Friday; solo Sat. game on campus
The Lions return to action next weekend when they play host to three games against St. Gregory’s University. The Cavaliers are 10-21 in all games, 3-12 in the SAC.
The two will play a twinbill at the Waxahachie Sports Complex at 4:00pm on Friday and a single contest on campus at noon on Saturday.