LUBBOCK, Texas (February 21, 2020) – Lubbock Christian host No. 1-ranked Angelo State in the first game of a four-game series on Friday and was just shy of upsetting the Rams in a 7-6 loss at Hays Field.
The Chaps (3-8, 3-8) had just one fewer hit than the Rams (11-0, 11-0) and LCU actually had more extra-base hits, but two of the ASU hits cleared the fence for home runs, driving in five of the seven Ram runs.
Josh Elvir had the first home run of the day, coming in the third inning after LCU starting pitcher Ty Stephenson and ASU starting pitcher Trent Baker both worked scoreless first and seconds. By the time Elvir came to the plate in the third inning, there were two runners already on base, with Thomas Cain having been hit by a pitch and Parker Bramlett singling up the middle. Elvir took the first pitch he saw for a strike before blasting the next one over the wall in left center field.
ASU’s lead did not last for long though. The Chaps went down in order in the bottom half of the third, but with one out in the bottom of the fourth, Larry Leitha tripled to start a rally. After Leitha’s triple that hit the base of the wall in right center, Luis Navarro singled to drive him in. Jaxon Shirley followed with a single of his own before freshman Merritt McPherson drove a ball deep into center field for a double that scored both runners to tie the game. A single
Stephenson was unable to execute the shutdown inning in the top of the fifth, however, as Angelo State responded with three runs, two of which came in on home run from Nic Sigenowich.
Lubbock Christian got one run back in the bottom of the fifth. George Mendazona led off with a bloop double to right center field and the Chaps eventually loaded the bases with one out after Leitha was hit by a pitch and Navarro walked. A popout gave them two outs, but McPherson walked to drive in one run before Peyton Maddox grounded out to end the inning.
The Chaps scored one final time in the bottom of the seventh inning, as AJ Perez singled to lead off and advanced to third on a single from Navarro. Carson Childers then came into replace Baker on the mound for the Rams and got the two out to end the inning, but one was a fly ball deep enough to sore Perez on a sacrifice fly.
LCU got a runner 90 feet away in the eighth inning after Hernandez reached on a fielding error and advanced to third on another error, but he was stranded there. The Chaps went down in order in the ninth, as Childers earned the save.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
3.09 | ASU starter Trent Baker had only allowed two runs in 17.2 innings prior to Friday, but the Chaps touched him up for six runs, raising his season ERA from 1.06 to 3.09
.053 | The Chaps had three more chances to bat with the bases loaded in the loss and went0-2 with a walk, dropping them to 1-19 (.053) on the season in those situations. Their only hit with the bases loaded was an infield single by AJ Perez in the February win against SEU
3 | Lubbock Christian set a new season-high with three double-plays turned in the loss. All were of the ground ball variety
33/10 | Of the 21 outs recorded while Ty Stephenson was on the mound, eight were groundouts with just three flyouts (and eight strikeouts). He has now induced 33 ground balls this season and just 10 fly balls
3 | LCU freshman Merritt McPherson’s three-RBI game is the first by any Chap player this season. Leitha and Maddox have both had a game with two RBI
Lubbock Christian and Angelo State will face off again in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Hays Field.
Courtesy: Lubbock Christian University Athletics