LUBBOCK, Texas (March 28, 2014) – Brett Kauten had three runs-batted-in in each game and combined to hit for the cycle on the afternoon, as his performance and a pair of saves by Glenn Warrick helped No.14 Lubbock Christian University sweep No.9 St. Mary’s University with a 10-6 and 7-5 win in a Heartland Conference doubleheader Friday afternoon at Hays Field.
A pair of Kauten’s RBI came in a three-run second inning off a single to right centerfield in the opener. The Rattlers did come back with a pair of runs in the third inning off a pair of singles and pair in the fourth inning off a Keith Funk single to take a 4-3 lead. LCU didn’t stay down for long, as in the bottom of the fourth inning, LCU exploded for a five-run inning. Kauten tallied the first run of the inning with a RBI-double, and Tanner Rainey and Jesse Pintado followed with RBI-singles before Brandon Wilson went deep with a two-run home run for his sixth shot of the season. LCU extended the lead to 10-4 with two insurance runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by a Hunter McFall double. The Chaps would need those runs, as St. Mary’s scored a pair of runs in the top of the seventh inning. They had the bases loaded with the tying run at the plate with two outs in the seventh inning, but Warrick came out of the bullpen and forced Al Gonzalez to fly out to seal the win.
Brig Gerlich extended his perfect record this season to 7-0, as he went 6.2 innings and faced all but the final batter before Warrick came in for the save. Rene Solis, who pitched his sixth complete game of the season, suffered the loss for the Rattlers, allowing 10 runs off 13 hits over the six innings. He fell to 6-2 on the season. McFall led LCU with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. Wilson finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI and Kauten was 2-for-3 with three RBI.
The second game was highlighted by the Chaps effectiveness to get out of jams. St. Mary’s was able to get the lead-off batter aboard five times, but went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and 1-for-10 in two-out at-bats, leading to 12 runners stranded.
Chaps starting pitcher Tim Carlson was plagued with walks early and walked three in the first inning, including a bases loaded walk to give St. Mary’s a 1-0 lead. Pintado and Wilson each doubled in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 1-1. With two outs and nobody aboard in the fourth inning, the Chaps produced a three-run two-out rally. Kauten came through with a two-out two-RBI triple and Rainey followed with a single to plate Kauten for a 4-1 lead. Another bases loaded walk in the fifth inning and trio of sixth inning hits allowed the Rattlers to tie the game at 4-4. Pintado and Wilson would double again off Rattlers starting ace Matt McClain, but this time their doubles in the sixth inning followed a solo home run by Kauten and it led to a three-run inning for a 7-4 lead. Funk doubled to lead off the seventh inning and it led to a run, but that is as close as the Rattlers would get. Warrick came in the final two innings and only allowed one hit to claim his second save of the day and his fifth of the season.
The Chaps produced seven extra-base hits off McClain (five doubles, a triple and a home run). The three-time Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Week, who had missed his prior two starts, had only allowed three extra-base hits over 48 innings pitched prior to his start Friday. He allowed a season high 13 hits leading to seven runs allowed over 5.1 innings to fall to 5-2 on the season. Garrett McKenzie pitched 2.2 innings of hitless ball in relief of McClain.
The win for LCU went to reliever Dalton Silva (4-1) despite allowing three runs over 2.1 innings. Carlson allowed one earned run off five hits in 4.2 innings, but walked six batters. Pintado went 3-for-5 and Wilson was 2-for-4 for LCU, with each player producing two doubles.
Kauten was 2-for-4 at the plate in producing his game-high three runs-batted-in. On the afternoon, Kauten combined to go 4-for-7 with a single, double, triple and home run produced in the doubleheader. He also had 10 total bases and six RBI. McFall also went 4-for-7 on the afternoon.
The Chaps have now won six consecutive games and increase their conference best record to 15-2. They are 23-8 overall. The Chaps are also 9-1 against ranked opponents (7-1 against NCAA Div. II ranked opponents) and 5-0 against top-10 ranked programs. St.Mary’s has lost three consecutive conference games and their conference record drops to 9-5, while they are 22-10 overall. It was the two programs’ first meetings since the 2000 season. They complete the series with a single nine-inning game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Hays Field.