Provided by LCU Athletics
LUBBOCK, Texas (April 11, 2014) – No.12 Lubbock Christian University hit the 20-win plateau in Heartland Conference play Friday with a doubleheader sweep of University of Arkansas - Fort Smith, winning 5-3 and 10-2 at Hays Field.
LCU would obtain all five runs in two-out situations to win the opener 5-3. The Chaps had a three-run third inning and a two-run fifth inning and each inning's scoring started with two outs and no one on base. In the third inning, trailing 1-0 after an RBI-single by Curtis Clark manufactured a 1-0 lead for UAFS, a two-out walk to Jesse Pintado was followed by a single from Brandon Wilson, a RBI-double by Joel Lutz and a two-run single by Wigberto Nevarez for a 3-1 lead. With two outs in the fifth inning, a walk to Nevarez was followed with a single by Hunter McFall and a RBI-single by Wade Stramp. McFall would end up scoring on a double-steal for a 5-1 lead.
Brig Gerlich nearly went the distance as LCU's starting pitcher. He was an out away from a complete game before a two-run single by Blaise Warrick cut the Chaps lead to 5-3. Dalton Silva came in to garner the save (his fourth of the season) getting the final out with the tying run stranded at first base. Gerlich improved to 8-0 and allowed one earned run off five hits in 6.2 innings. Wayde Roth suffered the loss (2-6) and it turned out to be a painful one. He took a line drive off his foot in the fourth inning and was unable to stay in the game. Colin Ogilvie came in to pitch the remaining three innings.
The Chaps produced eight hits in the game and six came with two outs (6-for-11 in two-out situations), with McFall producing two of them. He finished the game 2-for-3. Nevarez was 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI.
In the second game, LCU produced five hits off starting pitcher Gatlin Watson in the first inning, and he only lasted through the first inning. Lutz opened the scoring with a single up the middle to score Tanner Rainey, and Hunter McFall smacked a three-run home run over the right field wall for his first home run of the season. LCU led 4-0 after the first inning. A trio of singles by the Lions in the top of the second inning helped them cut the deficit to 4-1. The Chaps got the run right back in the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run over the left field wall by Joel Lutz for his 11th home run of the season. Rainey made it 7-1 in the fourth inning with a two-run single, and then grabbed a third RBI in the three-run eighth inning. Nevarez extended his hit streak to nine games in the eighth inning with a lead-off double and Luke McKay, his pinch runner, would eventually score on a pinch hit single by Brett Wilhelm to open the inning's scoring. Wilhelm and Ethan Kohnle would each have their first pinch hit base hits of the season in the inning and each led to a RBI. UAFS led off the ninth inning with a pair of singles, but they would only get one run across in the comeback bid.
The Lions went through eight pitchers in the game, with no pitcher pitching any more than two innings. Ethan Higgins, like Roth, took a line drive and left the game in the eighth inning after pitching 0.2 innings. Watson suffered the loss and fell to 0-2. LCU's Tim Carlson pitched seven innings and allowed one run off six hits to claim the win and improve to 6-1.
Rainey completed the game 3-for-5 with a trio of runs-batted-in. McFall also finished with three RBI with his three-run blast. Nine different Chaps had a hit in the game. Dakota Watson was 3-for-4 in the loss for the Lions.
UAFS, who is 16-20 overall and 8-12 in conference, had 13 hits on the afternoon, but all were for singles. In the combined two games, UAFS top four hitters in the line-up combined to go 2-for-29 (.068), while the bottom four combined to go 11-for-22 (.500).
The Chaps, who have won six straight games, have scored at least five runs in 11 consecutive games. The two wins improved their record to 29-9 overall and 20-3 in the Heartland Conference.
The games were LCU's first games against an Arkansas based university since LCU faced Arkansas in 1987. The Razorbacks (four games played between 1985 and 1987) had been LCU's only other Arkansas based program they had previously played prior to Friday. LCU remains home Saturday and completes the season series at 1 p.m. hosting UAFS.
Lubbock Christian University is conducting their "Strike Out Hunger" campaign Saturday for both LCU baseball and softball events scheduled. Individuals are encouraged to bring five canned food items to receive free game admission or bring 10 canned food items for family admission. Fans are also encouraged to bring additional canned food items to participate in games and activities. Complimentary hamburgers and hot dogs will be grilled up for those participating in the food drive, which is supporting the South Plains Food Bank.