Lions experience mixed-bag against No. 1 OBU
SAGU supports Pisors pitching, outhit Bison in Game Two
Team has three-game homestand on campus next Friday, Saturday
Current Standings: http://www.soonerathletic.org/
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University experienced the good and bad of facing the nation’s No. 1 ranked team this weekend. The good was very encouraging! And, can we skip the other?
Oklahoma Baptist University won the opener 17-0 by unleashing an impressive 16-hit attack. Leaving little chance of a win by the Lions were a season-high seven errors while also allowing four walks.
The team dusted off their cleats and bounced back to play solid defense and pitch well in the second game. OBU bunched seven hits together en route to a 6-2 triumph.
SAGU outhit them, racking up eight, though they were spread out. They had at least one in all but two innings. The Purple Pride outpitched the Bison in the game, though a call in a decisive, four-run fifth, proved critical.
Friday’s third game was similar to the first, except the Lions defense played well. OBU displayed their power bats for the first time in the series in a 12-0 victory.
It was the Lions' sixth consecutive game against a nationally ranked team after playing No. 12 Oklahoma City University last week. Facing top quality pitchers was tough, though the young Lions were not intimidated.
The Lions collected 14 hits in the OBU series and coaxed just two walks. They struck out 15 times in the three games.
Meanwhile, the Buffaloes had 35 hits and nine walks. The Pride pitching staff were credited with fanning 19 OBU batters in the three games.
SAGU Head Coach Sam Blackmon was not interested in moral victories, though his squad had to play the entire series without their top hitter, Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS). He was recovering from being hit in the head (by the bat) the week before by an over-swinging OKC Star.
He is expected back for the final series next weekend. At stake for SAGU will be a berth in the post-season.
Denton, a senior, leads the team in batting at .405, extra-base hits with 19 as well as runs batted in (19).
SAGU, riding a season-long losing skid of seven games, slipped to 18-27 overall. Against competition from the Sooner Athletic Conference the team is 8-16.
Heading into the series against OKC and OBU, the Lions had won eight of 14 games and were in sixth place in the conference.
They remain in the hunt for a berth in the May 2-5 SAC tournament, which is a minimum of three games in pool play.
Having won 10 straight, OBU is now 40-6 and 19-4 in the SAC. The Bison have gone 17-2 since March 21.
The Lions have three games remaining – all at home against another ranked foe in Northwood University (28-17 / 15-6 in SAC) on April 25-26. The entire series will be played on campus.
SAGU will honor senior players; Tali Fletcher (Monahans, Tx / Monahans HS), Jeremy Cross (Americus, Ga / Harker Heights HS, Univ of Dallas), Nick Sheffield (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS), and Denton, prior to the third game.
Here is a summary of each game in the series against OBU:
GAME ONE: OBU 17-0
The Bison scored four in the first, a single run in the second, and then tallied five more in the third for a commanding 10-0 lead. They needed just seven hits to score ten times, all but one of them were singles.
Starting lefthander Cross hit two batters in the first and walked one in both the second and third innings. Three steals aided the OBU offense, but three outfield errors, two of them simple drops in left and right fields, led to seven unearned runs charged to Cross.
The Lions had four hits, each were sharply hit singles.
Leading off the second it was Raul Castro (Garland, Tx / Berkner HS, Hillsdale College) and Preston Hornbeck (McKinney, Tx / McKinney HS, Hesston College) getting on board; Castro with a line-drive to centerfield and Hornbeck with a smash in the hole between shortstop and third base.
The threat disappeared quickly on a fly out to center and 1-6-3 double play.
Collin Gifford (Dodge City, Ks / Dodge City HS) entered the game in the third, replacing an outfielder. He got the team’s final two hits, a hot grounder that deflected off the pitcher’s leg and a looping liner to right.
A regrouped outfield finished the game by turning in several excellent catches, one by Terry and two, long, running grabs by Brock Schneider (Arlington, Tx / Martin HS) in center. He finished the game with six putouts.
Hayden Killebrew (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) pitched the final four innings. He was touched for seven runs, three of them unearned. That brought OBU's total to 10 unearned scores.
Jordan Morales (10-0, 1.96 ERA) was credited with the win for the Bison.
GAME TWO: OBU 6-2
Lions’ ace Jarrod Pisors (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS) handcuffed the nation’s best hitting team (.356 team BA) from start to finish.
They did take a 2-0 lead in the first inning, and then tacked on four more in the top of the fifth.
Two seeing eye singles started the first, with both runners advancing on a missed throw to the cutoff. Pisors fanned Matt Page (.420 BA). Steven Knudson, a 260-lb clean-up batter, sent a grounder to the right of a diving Hornbeck at shortstop, scoring two runs.
SAGU countered with consecutive hits in their half of the first. Schneider led off by ripping a shot past Knudson at first. It kicked up chalk with each bounce, skirting far enough past the rightfielder for the speed-merchant (Schneider) to slide into third with a triple.
He scored on an infield single up the middle by Cross.
Pisors and OBU’s RHP Jinny Parra breezed through the next three innings.
Catcher Mason Ankeney began the fifth with what appeared to be a clear groundout to shortstop Hornbeck. It was ruled his throw pulled first baseman Bryant Threadgill (Whitewright, Tx / Whitewright HS, Dallas Christian College) off the base, which was protested to no avail by Blackmon.
A pinch runner swiped second before a questionable ruling that a batter was hit by a pitch. A bloop to center scored one run with both runners advancing on an ill-advised throw from the outfield.
A sacrifice fly knocked in a second run before Garrett Roberts lined an RBI double to rightcenter. A passed ball on the Lions catcher permitted a runner to advance to third, where he scored on a wild pitch.
SAGU’s second run crossed the plate in the bottom of the fifth.
Clay Gentle (Fredericksburg, Tx / Fredericksburg HS) hit a frozen rope single to center and darted to third on a single through the right side by Gifford. He scored easily when Schneider safely placed a hit near the rightfield line.
The hosts would add two more singles, but would never threaten again. Castro muscled a shot to right-center in the sixth and Sheffield lined a seventh-inning single over second base.
Pisors (5-4) took the loss. He went the distance yielding seven hits, one walk and finished with six K’s.
OBU’s Parra (5-1, 1.51 ERA) earned the win with a complete game eight-hitter.
GAME THREE: OBU 14-0
The Bison scored single runs in the first and third before pulling away with back-to-back 5-run frames in the fourth and fifth.
A dropped fly in left accounted for the game’s first run. Ricker then launched a 1-1 offering from Lions lefthander Pedro “Tres” Ortiz (Lorena, Tx / Lorena HS) over the 400-foot marker in centerfield. It was his third home run this season.
Matt Page powered a 2-0 Tucker Burt (N. Richland Hills, Tx / Westlake Academy) pitch for a solo homer in the fifth.
Julian Merryweather, a 6’3 senior, improved to 8-2 (1.00 ERA) this season by surrendering a pair of singles over six innings. During a 65 pitch effort he walked none and fanned six.
Terry got the first hit when he stroked a single along the leftfield line. He was promptly wiped out on a double-play ground ball.
Threadgill, a sophomore, poked a shot up the middle in the second. He advanced to second on a Hornbeck sacrifice bunt to the mound. But a pop-up to second and a groundout to shortstop ended the threat. It would be the only time SAGU had a baserunner reach second base.
Andrew Millner used only seven pitches in tossing a hitless seventh, sitting down all three batters on grounders.
So effective were the Bison pitchers that of SAGU’s 21 outs, only one was outside of the infield, a shallow fly to center. Twelve others were groundouts, two were infield pops and the final six were strikeouts.
A key difference in the teams is visible in the breakdown of their roster. OBU has 23 upperclassmen, the Lions have seven.
The veteran Bison roster is comprised of 25 college transfers, with just four coming directly from high school. Their roster is made up of one freshman, four sophomores, 14 juniors and nine seniors.
SAGU has 10 players with college experience elsewhere and 17 arriving from high school. The roster is comprised of 13 freshmen, seven sophomores, three juniors and four seniors.