Pioneers make history with first season sweep of LCU - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Pioneers make history with first season sweep of LCU

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Provided by Wayland Baptist Athletics

LUBBOCK – Fresh off winning their first-ever series over Oklahoma City University, the Wayland Baptist baseball team made more history at blustery Hays Field here Tuesday, defeating rival Lubbock Christian, 4-3, to complete the Pioneers' first-ever season sweep of the seventh-ranked Chaparrals.

In their final non-conference game of the regular-season, Wayland prevailed with a pair of RBI-sacrifice flies by Austin Davis followed by a pair of runs in the eighth inning on a solo home run by Caleb Davidson and two costly LCU errors. It made a winner of Jonathan Frost (3-1), who pitched seven workmanlike innings before giving way to Logan Evans and Kevin Torres to close it out.

Wayland had beaten the Chaps in their first two meetings this season in Plainview, 8-5 and 10-8. It's the first time the Pioneers have ever swept a season series from LCU, the team Wayland faced in its first-ever game back in 1992. Wayland trails the all-time series, 27-78, but has won five of the last six meetings off the Chaps.

Tuesday's win pushed Wayland's record to 38-14, hours after the Pioneers re-entered the NAIA Top 25 conversation by receiving votes. WBU is the equivalent of No. 32.

Against the Chaps (31-13), on a day that feature gusts to 50 mph, Wayland managed 11 hits while committing one error, compared to LCU's nine hits and two miscues in the field. Both of the Chaps' errors came in the pivotal eighth inning.

After first baseman Davidson smacked a one-out, solo homer – his 10th of the season – that rode the strong winds over the right-field fence, catcher Ernesto Lizardi reached on an error by the LCU shortstop. Following Austin Davis' bunt single and a fly-out, Will Bass – representing the top of WBU's batting order – came up and sent a hard grounder to the Chaps' third baseman, who couldn't find the handle, allowing Lizardi to score the winning run unearned.

Just as LCU had done when Wayland scored runs in the second and sixth innings, the Chaps answered in the bottom of the eighth, too. But Lubbock Christian couldn't manage to match both runs, only one.

When Frost, who gave up eight hits with three strikeouts and a walk, exited after surrendering a lead-off double, Evans entered and allowed an RBI-single. But the senior right-hander buckled down and struck out the next batter looking then induced a fly-out to right-fielder Alex Mumm before Lizardi easily threw out the runner attempting to move into scoring position at second.

The Pioneers couldn't add to their lead in the ninth despite a lead-off single by Gregg Veneklasen, a double by Mumm and a walk by Davidson because the Chaps turned a double-play and Lizardi lined out to the first baseman. It didn't matter, though, as Torres came in to close the deal, walking one but getting two ground-outs and a strikeout to earn his fourth save and secure the historic victory.

Wayland's first two runs came on a pair of sacrifice flies by Davis that scored Davidson in the second inning and Mumm in the sixth.

The Pioneers complete the regular-season in Oklahoma City this weekend against Mid-America Christian. Although the series could be moved due to inclement weather in the forecast, the teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Friday following by a single game at 1 p.m. Saturday.

With a 13-8 record, Wayland is tied for fourth in the Sooner Athletic Conference standings with OCU (32-17, 13-8), although the Pioneers own the tie-breaker with the Stars based on head-to-head wins. Wayland stands behind three teams tied for first in No. 17 Science and Arts of Oklahoma (38-11, 16-5) No. 22 Texas Wesleyan (34-15, 16-5), and No. 25 Southwestern Christian (39-7, 16-5).

OCU hosts the SAC Tournament May 6-9. The winner automatically qualifies as one of 45 teams for the NAIA National Championship Opening Round, while non-automatic qualifiers must gain entry with an at-large bid.

The opening round will be held May 17-20 and feature nine, five-team, double-elimination tournaments. Host sites are Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), Davenport (Mich.), Faulkner (Ala.), Georgia Gwinnett, Jamestown (N.D.), Kingsport (Tenn.) Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Appalachian Athletic Conference, Tabor (Kan.), USC Beaufort (S.C.), and Westmont (Calif.).

The nine opening round champions and World Series host Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) make up the field at the 2016 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series. The event, which is taking place at Harris Field for the 17th-consecutive season and 25th time overall, is scheduled to run from May 27–June 3.

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