Last Place Bacone Sweeps Baseball Lions
Nine Unearned Runs in Gm One; Late Tribe Rally in Gm Two
Lions, Warriors play Saturday matinee at 1pm
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -- Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS) went 4-for-4 and hit a pair of home runs while driving in six runs, but it wasn't enough to prevent Bacone College from sweeping a pair of college baseball games from Southwestern Assemblies of God University on Friday afternoon.
Southwestern, now 8-21 overall and 3-17 against the Red River Athletic Conference, had been playing outstanding defense while going 5-5 over a 10-game stretch. Until Friday. They had also benefitted by a consistent hitting attack and a clearly improved pitching staff. Until Friday.
Bacone entered the twinbill with 20 loses in their previous 23 games and were in last place in the RRAC. By taking the first game, 12-2, then rallying from behind in the bottom of the eighth inning, scoring seven times in a 15-9 triumph, they improved to 6-25 and 3-14 in the RRAC. The 15 runs tied their season high and the twelve in Game One were their second best effort of the 2011 campaign.
The teams will play a single game on Saturday afternoon at the Warriors' on-campus ballpark at 1:00pm. Sophomore Jared Jones (Copperas Cove, Tx / Copperas Cove HS) has drawn the starting assignment for the Lions in a series they had hoped to win.
Even with the disappointing setbacks, SAGU trails Texas College, the sixth place team, by only three wins with seven league games yet to be played. The top six teams qualify for the RRAC tournament. The Lions close the regular season with a 3-game homestand against the TC Steers on April 22-23.
Early Clashes with the League's Elite saddles both SAGU, Bacone with losses
Southwestern began conference play against Texas-Brownsville (25-9 current record), Huston-Tillotson (6-17), Northwood (25-8), Texas Wesleyan (23-12) and defending champion Wiley College (13-11). They were 1-14 in those games.
Similarly, Bacone had barely gotten off the snide with a 1-21 start. They dug themselves an 0-12 hole in league games. In eleven of their losses the Tribe fell by four or runs or less, with five one-run defeats.
During the doubleheader they took advantage of critical errors by the Lions, then outhit SAGU by a combined 34-16 margin.
Game One Summary
Cameron Ward (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) stroked a leadoff single in the top of the fourth. One batter later Denton dialed 9 for long distance. His crushed a fastball into a stiff wind, sending it sailing over the leftfield wall, knotting the score at 2-2.
The Lions defense began to break down in the bottom of that inning and continued as the Warriors scored 12 runs, nine of them unearned. Five infield errors, all from the left side, fueled three straight innings that produced crooked scoreboard numbers and tagged lefthander Ward with the loss. He had won his previous three decisions.
Ward, a senior, held the top four batters in the Bacone lineup to a pair of hits. The bottom five, however, were 10-for-18. A pair of balks aided the Warriors string of 10-unanswered runs.
Chris Stanley (Harker Heights, Tx / Ellison HS) came in to pitch one inning and yielded just one hit and one walk, and the final three unearned runs.
SAGU had only five base hits, two of them by Ward. After Denton's HR, Patrick Wherland (Petrolia, Tx / Petrolia HS) and Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NMMI, Gateway HS) had one each.
Game Two Recap
The Purple Pride spotted junior lefty Nic Morgan (Ft. Worth, Tx / LeTourneau Univ, Boswell HS) with a 3-0 lead. After Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) was hit by a pitch, Jones rapped a single. Wherland, the club's top hitter, pounded an RBI base-knock to score Jett. Two outs later Denton reached first on a swinging bunt, a play that resulted in both Jones and Wherland crossing the dish.
Bacone found their collective magic stick, totaling 22 hits. They had three doubles and a pair of triples. Mike Miller, Casey Gillespie and Anthony Seabolt were on their game, each collecting four hits in five trips to the dish. Seabolt led with 4 runs batted in. The Tribe led 7-3 after the fourth frame.
The Lions assembled an impressive comeback by tallying twice in the sixth, then tacking on a 4-spot in the top of the seventh for a hard-fought 9-8 lead heading into the eighth.
DuJuan Prater (Copperas Cove, Tx / Copperas Cove HS), who played leftfield, led off by drawing a base on balls. An out later Denton came to the plate, hammer in hand. You hang it, he bangs it! His two-run tater to leftfield pulled the Lions to within 8-5.
Bacone scored a single run in bottom of the frame. Coach Greg Hayes' never-say-die Lions got it going in the seventh.
Jett walked, and then, after a Warrior error and an out, Prater lined a shot to left that allowed the Lear Jett to safely land. Ward and Denton loaded the bags with Cats for the spray-hitting David Gomez (Del Rio, Tx / Bowie HS). He delivered a clutch base hit up the middle that provided SAGU with the lead.
Following Southwestern's 6-2 reply, they relinquished the lead with a series of misplays. It began with an error at shortstop, then a double, a single, a walk, a triple, another triple and a single. The Warriors responded with seven runs that retrieved the momentum, the lead and, a half inning later, the game.
Denton went 3-for-3 in the nightcap, driving in four and walking twice. Jones, Wherland and Gomez registered two base hits, with Wherland adding two RBI. Jett, Jones and Prater each scored twice.
Morgan lasted five and two-third innings, yielding eight runs, six of them earned. He walked only one and struck out four. The bullpen offered little in relief. During two and one third innings, three hurlers combined to give up seven runs (six earned), on six hits and three walks. Morgan was not charged with the loss.
Prater, with four ribbies, and Denton, on his pair of dingers, were the highlights on a day that failed to produce many. Defense and pitching were the primary culprits on this afternoon in the park. Bacone, averaging a league low 4.6 runs per game, erupted for 27 on Friday. Only 15 were earned.
After weeks of exemplary play in all phases of the game, the Lions hope the off-day is quickly overcome.
Lions to play in Minor League Stadium on Tuesday
SAGU returns to action on Tuesday with a local game in a fairly new minor league stadium. They will face Arlington Baptist College at QuikTrip Park at 2:00pm. The Grand Prairie Air Hogs play at the QTP, which is located on N. Belt Line Road just north of Tom Landry Freeway (I-30) between 360 and Loop 12, west of Dallas.
The starting pitcher for the Lions has not yet been announced.
Central Regional Tournament
Southwestern will host the National Christian College Athletic Association's Central Regional Tournament during May 12-14. The games will be played at the Waxahachie Sports Complex.
The winner of the tourney receives a bid to play in the NCCAA's National Baseball Championship the following week, May 18-21. Prasco Park, in suburban Cincinnati, will host an 8-team field. It is the home of the Cincinnati Spikes minor league team.
There are 11-teams in the Central Region, though teams have not yet committed to the tourney. The potential 10-team field, among those with teams this spring, and their won-lost record in the most recent NCCAA report or their school website, includes:
Central Baptist College Mustangs Conway, Arkansas (8-15)
Central Christian College Tigers McPherson, Kansas (10-7)
Colorado Christian University Cougars Lakewood, Colorado (3-15)
Crowley's Ridge College Pioneers Paragould, Arkansas (2-9)
Dallas Baptist University Patriots Dallas, Texas (14-9)
Ecclesia College Royals Springdale, Arkansas (0-0)
Mid-America Christian University Evangels Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (6-18)
Oklahoma Wesleyan University Eagles Bartlesville, Oklahoma (16-10)
SW Assemblies of God University Lions Waxahachie, Texas (9-20)
York College Panthers York, Nebraska (17-7)
*Southwestern Christian University Eagles Bethany, Oklahoma
*No baseball program is currently listed on their website