LUBBOCK, Texas (April 24, 2010) – Lubbock Christian University pitchers Tanner Vickers and Hunter Scott held the No.3 Oklahoma City University Stars to six hits and the No.7 Chaparrals received a nine-run fifth inning, highlighted by Mark Gomez's second grand slam of the series, to complete a three-game sweep with a 11-5 win Saturday afternoon at Hays Field. The Sooner Athletic Conference sweep for the Chaps places them with a ten-game win streak and atop the conference standings with a 19-4 conference mark.
Despite the strong pitching performance from the Chaps, it was a contest the Chaps had to play from behind and the numbers on the season haven't been superb in that department. The Chaps entered the game 6-6 when the opposing team scores first and 5-5 when the opposing team scores in the first inning. That scenario was put to the test in the top of the first inning, as a trio of walks by starting pitcher Vickers and a triple by Chad Carman led to a 2-0 Stars lead. LCU cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first with Rafael Thomas leading off with a triple and then scoring on a wild pitch from OCU starter Terrance Jackson. Oklahoma City added to their lead in the third inning as a lead off walk to Jackson, who also served as the lead-off hitter, was followed by a double from Kirk Walker and a two-run single by Steve Vitale for a 4-1 lead.
The Stars would hold that lead until LCU erupted for nine runs off seven hits, with Gomez connecting on the team's third grand slam of the series and his second on the season (both coming in the series). OCU reliever Brad Riddle was twice called for a balk, which led to a pair of runs during the offensive rally as well. Vitale hit a solo home run in the sixth inning and it turned out to be the final run from the Stars. Hunter Scott earned a three-inning save holding the Stars scoreless with just one hit allowed. He allowed a ninth inning two-out double to the 11th batter he faced in the game. The Chaps final run came in the eighth inning, with Ross Blondin hitting a two-out double to get an insurance run across home plate.
Vickers claimed his first win of the season for the Chaps (1-1). He allowed five runs off five hits and struck out five batters. Terrance Jackson fell to 5-2 for OCU on the season. He allowed seven runs on nine hits and struck out five batters in four innings of work. Thomas, Joe Staley and Gomez each had three hits in the game for LCU to supply the offense. Staley batted .700 in the series with seven hits in 10 at-bats with six runs scored. Gomez and Blondin combined for five home runs in the series and each player produced 11 runs-batted-in.
One trend that carried over from the first two games in the series was the Chaps ability to get the lead-off batter aboard. The Chaps were able to get the lead-off batter aboard base five out of eight times in the game and 13 out of 17 times in the series.
Lubbock Christian swept the series to improve to 35-10 overall on the season. They batted .535 as a team in the series with nine homers blasted. The Chaps out-hit the Stars 54-29 and out-scored them 55-25 in the three-game set. The trio of losses places the Stars with a 36-11 overall record and a 19-5 conference mark, which places them a half-game back of the Chaps in the conference standings.
The Chaparrals return to action Friday on the road in Bethany, Okla., as the Chaps face Southern Nazarene for a three-game SAC series. The Friday doubleheader begins at 1 p.m.