Mathis, Cross deliver, but Lions bats slumber
SAGU missed their chances while Wayland sweeps three
Mathis goes 4-for-4 with two doubles and a triple in finale
Standings, Box Scores, Player Stats, Photo Gallery (links below)
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- A young Southwestern Assemblies of God University baseball team had their moments in a three-game home series with Wayland Baptist University over the weekend, but not enough to register any victories.
The veteran Pioneers earned the sweep with scores of 10-3, 5-2 and 11-4, all played on the Lions campus field.
SAGU dropped their fifth straight and fell to 9-11 overall. They are 0-3 against teams in the Sooner Athletic Conference.
Wayland (14-6 / 3-0 in SAC) left town with a six-game win streak.
In the first and third games the Pioneers grabbed an early lead and held SAGU at bay the rest of the way. Friday’s middle contest saw the Lions take a 2-1 lead into the fourth inning before WBU battled back, taking the lead in the sixth and tacking on two more in the seventh.
“I thought our guys played hard in all three games,” Head Coach Sam Blackmon said on Saturday. “Going against such a quality opponent, we have to minimize some of the mistakes we made and capitalize on the opportunities we earn.”
“There were some bright spots,” he added. “I thought Jeremy Cross pitched a great in game two and Dej Mathis had four hits in the third game.”
“Clay Gentle swung it well for the series and defensively we played very well up the middle with Preston Hornbeck, Jonathan Santiago and Brock Schneider.”
He also praised Tucker Burt for the many quality pitches he had today. He cited the mound-work of (Pedro) Tres Ortiz on Friday and Hayden Killebrew today.
While outhit collectively by a 39-20 count, SAGU pitchers worked out of a handful of situations to keep their team within striking reach. The evidence; Wayland left 26 runners stranded.
The pitching staff allowed only seven walks in the series while striking out 10 Pioneers. They permitted nine extra-base hits, including one home in each game.
Wayland hurlers collaborated to surrender only three extra-base hits in the series, all by Dej (pronounced deedj) Mathis (Wister, Ok / Wister HS, Bacone College ) in the finale. Lion batters collected only four walks while striking out 24 times. The team left 17 on base.
Individual game summaries:
GAME ONE: Wayland 10-3
The Lions defense wasted a solid outing by sophomore ace 6'7 Jarrod Pisors (Red Oak, Tx / Red Oak HS ). The first inning set the tone for the game and SAGU couldn’t recover.
An infield hit and a double gave the Pioneers their first run. Then a single was overrun by the leftfielder; the ball rolling to the fence. It was 2-0.
The first of two interference calls against the Lions catcher had runners on the corner before a flair to single gave WBU a 3-0 lead.
Pisors settled down. In the fifth he allowed a walk and, with two outs the Pioneers rapped four singles to extend their lead to 6-0. Pisors was touched for six runs, four of them unearned.
Now, 3-3, he deserved better.
He gave up eight hits, two walks and fanned three. The Lions countered with three in their half of the fifth.
Eric Hagstrom (Universal City, Tx / Lubbock Chr ) reached on a single in front of two batters were hit by a pitch. With a runner on every base, Preston Hornbeck (McKinney, Tx / Heston JC ) drew a walk to force in Hagstrom.
Jared Denton (Mission, Tx / Sharyland HS ) looped an RBI single to right-center, the same area that Clay Gentle (Fredericksburg, Tx / Fredericksbrg HS ) poked a run-producing hit to pull to within 6-3.
The Pioneers led off the sixth with a homer over the leftfield monster and a deep double off the same wall. Two singles pushed the lead to 9-3 to effectively negate the SAGU rally.
Wayland’s 6’4 senior Tom Bailey (3-1 record) regrouped to retire the next six batters to finish a complete game, seven-hitter. He walked one and whiffed eight.
Denton was the only player in purple with more than one hit, going 2-for-3.
GAME TWO: Wayland 5-2
Left-hander Jeremy Cross (Americus, Ga / Harker Heights HS [Tx], U. Dallas ) and a splendid performance by the SAGU defense put the Pride in position to win in the second game on Friday.
The Pioneers overcame a 2-1 deficit with single runs in the fourth and sixth, then added two more in the seventh to pull away.
Josh Alexander crushed a 2-0 pitch over the 24-foot fence in left to even the score in the fourth. The Pioneers used a bloop single and a walk before a Damion Lovato single to shallow left drove in the tie-breaking run.
Cross got out of a bases-loaded jam by coaxing a fly ball to centerfielder Brock Schneider (Arlington, Tx / Martin HS ) to end the inning.
Cross effectively kept the ball below the radar line, resulting in 10 groundouts, seven of them to Gentle at third.
Wayland’s Mason Taylor (3-1) picked up the win. He and reliever Catchot Duncan scattered six hits to handcuff the SAGU attack.
After the Lions took a 2-1 lead in the third, they managed three separate singles over the final four frames.
Denton again was tops at the plate with a 2-for-3 showing.
GAME THREE: Wayland 11-4
Hard-throwing righty Tucker Burt (N.Richland Hls, Tx /Westlake Academy ), a freshman, hurled a complete game, but couldn’t tame the Pioneer bats long enough.
He yielded solo runs in the second and third and trailed 2-0 in the fifth. Meanwhile the Lions had just two hits.
In the pivotal fifth the visitors sandwiched a walk with a pair of singles to fill the bags for Lovato (lo-VAH-toe).
The 6’2 senior logged onto the gone network on a 1-0 offering. His grand slam wallop over the monster was his sixth round-tripper of the young season.
By the time the SAGU bats came to life they trailed 10-0.
Mathis smoked a triple deep down the leftfield line that scored two runs. He was straddling third with no outs when Wayland southpaw Taylor Bridges struck out three consecutive batters to quell the uprising.
The freshman, now 2-1, struck out 13 batters and allowed a lone base on balls.
Gentle singled and Mathis lined a double into the alley in right-center to set the table in the bottom of the ninth.
Senior Nick Sheffield (Maypearl, Tx / Maypearl HS ) grounded out to the shortstop to score Gentle. A grounder off the bat of Josh Terry (Daingerfield, Tx / Daingerfield HS ) was misplayed, granting the final run to cross the plate.
Mathis had four of the team’s seven hits, two doubles and a triple. He knocked in two runs and scored another.
On Deck: SAGU -vs- Texas Wesleyan
The Lions are off until Thursday. They will play No. 20 Texas Wesleyan University (8-7 / 2-0 in SAC) in a doubleheader at Fort Worth’s LaGrave Field. The first game is set for a 2:30pm first pitch.
Two days later, Saturday, March 8, SAGU hosts the Rams for a single game on campus at 1:00pm.
“Texas Wesleyan will be a very solid and talented opponent,” acknowledged Coach Blackmon. “They have a strong lineup and are coming off winning two games, one of them a no-hitter against MACU.”
As for the tougher competition in the SAC this spring, the coach added: “I think everyone in the conference will be very capable. Every series will boil down to executing and minimizing mistakes.”
“Wesleyan is a proven winner. We will have to play well and I am confident in our group of guys.”
Denton is third in the conference in batting with a .452 average.
Hornbeck and Tallon Ralstin (Cortez, Colo / Cortez HS ) are in the Top 20 in runs batted in (RBI) with 11 and 10 respectively.
Denton, Nathan Bish (Euless, Tx / Lyon College (Ark)) and Jonathan Santiago (Arlington, Tx / Bowie HS ) each have nine.
Pisors appears in the Top 10 in earned run average (ERA) with a 2.67. His three wins are second in the league.
Hornbeck, the junior shortstop, is one of a handful of players in the SAC who have yet to commit an error. He is atop the group as he has handled the most chances with 80. His 61 assists (throw outs) is better than the top forty-two players.
Current SAC Standings: http://www.soonerathletic.org/
Box Scores / Play-by-Play: http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Team/TeamSchedule.aspx?association=10&sg=MBA&sea=NAIMBA_2014&conference=NAIMBA1_SAC&team=1778
Click on the underlined score to view the box score. Click on the split blue box icon on the right for the play-by-play account of the game.
Photo Gallery: http://movingpictures.photoreflect.com/
Pictures will be uploaded on Sunday / Monday.