ALEXANDRIA, La. – Looking to protect a narrow lead in the late innings, the Louisiana College baseball team exploded for five runs in the eighth inning to blow open the series finale against Mary Hardin-Baylor in an 8-2 win over the Crusaders Sunday afternoon at Holy Savior Menard Central High School’s Eagle Field.
Much like the first two games of the series, Sunday’s game started with the two starting pitchers completely in command as it took until the fourth inning for either team to get a runner into scoring position. UMHB broke onto the scoreboard first on a RBI double in the fifth inning to take a 1-0 lead.
But it didn’t take long for the Wildcats to respond. Nicolas Ramos opened the bottom of the fifth with a single to left. He was sacrificed over to second, then moved to a ground ball to short, which was thrown away, and came home on another grounder to shortstop that was booted to tie the score at 1-1.
Hunter David needed just one swing of the bat to give the Wildcats the lead in the sixth inning as he took a pitch to straight away center field for a solo home run and a 2-1 lead. Jacob Fowler came up clutch in the seventh as his two-out single back up the middle brought in pinch runner Tyrese Morgan from second base for a 3-1 LC advantage after seven innings of play.
After striking out the potential tying run to end the top of the eighth inning, the Wildcats took advantage of a Cru miscue to blow the game open in the bottom half. Tyrese Morgan, who was able to bat in the eighth inning thanks to a dropped infield pop fly, took advantage of the opportunity by driving a solid single to the left-center gap to score both Hunter David and Christian Vandergrift to make it 5-1. Brady Atkins hit a ground ball to short, and Tyrese Morgan won the race with the second baseman to the bag to beat the throw while Beau Freeman crossed the plate from third for a 6-1 lead. Jacob Fowler came through clutch once again as he found the gap for a double that scored both Atkins and Tyrese Morgan for an 8-1 lead.
UMHB crossed a run in the top of the ninth, but the Wildcats were able to close out the win.
“It was a tough weekend but the guys responded very positively and played very well today,” said Louisiana College head coach Mike Byrnes. “The bats really came alive today and took advantage of some extra opportunities. Pitching was really exceptional all weekend, and we have a lot to build off of from today’s performance.”
Jacob Fowler made his first appearance in the starting line-up, and took advantage of the opportunity, going three of five at the plate with a double, three RBI, and a stolen base. Tyrese Morgan was a late game substitution and got the most out of his one opportunity to grab a bit, going one of one with two RBI and scored twice. Hunter David went one of three, but that one was a big one as it went over the center field wall for his third home run of the season, accounting for his lone RBI and one of his two runs scored in the contest, as he also got on base via a walk.
Colten Newsom (1-0) came on in the sixth inning and threw two solid innings of relief to pick up the win. He gave up three hits, no runs, and struck out two with no walks. Dylan Roark had a very effective start, going 5.1 innings and allowed just three hits and one run, which was earned, struck out four while walking just one. Gerald Groue, Jr. went an inning, allowing three hits and one run, which was earned, struck out one and didn’t walk any. Konnor McDermott came in and got the only two batters he faced out, one via strikeout, to end the game.
The Wildcats (4-4, 1-2 ASC) postponed Monday’s scheduled game against Champion Christian College for later in the season due to field conditions at Billy Allgood Field at Legacy Stadium. LC’s next game is this Friday, opening a three-game set with a doubleheader against Concordia University. First pitch of Friday’s game one against the Tornados (6-3, 3-0 ASC) is set for 4:30 P.M. at Tornado Field.