Provided by Lubbock Christian University
For a fourth consecutive game, a Lubbock Christian University baseball game was decided by one run, and Saturday, a RBI-single by Tanner Rainey proved to be the difference in a 4-3 win by the No.14 Chaparrals over McMurry University in the rubber match of their Heartland Conference series at Driggers Field.
Like the second game of the series on Friday, the Chaps would strike for the early lead. Rainey led off the game with a single and would score on Brandon Wilson's double down the right field line. The game would remain 1-0 until the fifth inning.
LCU extended the lead to 2-0 in the fifth inning without a hit. Rainey reached on a walk, advanced to second base on a balk, third base on a tag-up and home on a wild pitch. McMurry scored a pair of unearned runs on Chaps starting pitcher Levi Westerlund, with the first coming in the fifth inning. A single combined with a Chaps error setup a sacrifice fly by Christian Simmons to cut the Chaps lead to 2-1.
Hunter McFall hit his first triple of the season in the top of the sixth inning and scored on a passed ball before Rainey singled in Brett Wilhelm for a 4-1 lead. Mitch Labbie came in relief of War Hawks starting pitcher Ben Bates in the sixth inning and after getting out of the sixth inning, he retired the final 10 Chaps batters he faced.
Meanwhile, McMurry's offense started their comeback bid. Ben Douglas hit a double and would score on an error off Casey Berryman's ground ball to third base. The War Hawks cut the deficit to 4-3 in the seventh inning.
Chaps reliever Glenn Warrick hit Greg Koll to lead off the seventh inning and McMurry moved him around on an infield single by Kyle Sargent and a sacrifice bunt by Simmons before a sacrifice fly by Zack Hagan plated Koll. It was the first earned run allowed by Warrick, who was making his eighth appearance of the season and had logged 13.1 innings prior to the run scoring.
The infield single allowed turned out to be the lone hit allowed by Warrick, who did not allow a hit from the final nine batters he faced and pitched the final three innings for his second save of the season.
Stephen Withrow went 2-for-3 for LCU for his second consecutive multi-hit game of the season (his first two of the season). He finished the series 5-for-7 at the plate. Rainey was 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs and a RBI. Sargent went 2-for-5 in the loss for McMurry.
Westerlund improved to 2-0 with the win and did not allow an earned run off six hits in six innings pitched. Bates suffered the loss (1-3) by allowing four runs off seven hits in 5.1 innings.
LCU improved to 6-3 in one-run games and they are 9-3 in games decided by two runs or less. The last seven games the Chaps have played have been decided by two or less runs and five of them (including the last four) have been decided by one run. LCU is 4-1 over the seven-game span in which the games have been decided by one run.
Overall, the Chaps have won 10 of their last 11 games and improve to 19-8 on the season and 13-2 in Heartland Conference play. McMurry fell to 10-17 overall and 6-8 in conference. LCU is now 7-2 on the road in conference play and they have yet to lose a series in conference play. LCU went 5-1 on their six-game road trip and they return home Tuesday to host former conference rival Wayland Baptist at 3 p.m. at Hays Field.