LUBBOCK, TX (March 26, 2022) – Saturday’s doubleheader between Lubbock Christian University and St. Edward’s featured a pair of hard-fought games and wins for both sides, with LCU winning the first game 4-0 and SEU winning the second. game 8-7.
The Chaps (22-7, 20-7 LSC) won Game 1 behind another dominant pitching performance from Ethan Coombes in Game 1 and had the lead by several points in Game 2, but the Hilltoppers (19-8, 19-8 LSC) managed to hold on and win thanks to a strong backup from Jayson Flores.
Coombes set the tone in the first inning against St. Edward’s, striking out three batters with a single to the infield sandwiched in the middle at the top of the first. The next time he took the mound, he was working a lead.
George Mendazona got things going offensively for the Chaps with an out late in the first, surprising everyone by laying down a perfect single on the first pitch he saw. Luis Navarre followed by a double. Mendazona scored from a groundout, and Mason Donohoe added another brace to lead Navarro.
The Hilltoppers fell without much of a fight in the second and third, but threatened to tie the game in the fourth. Stacey Bailey walked to lead the inning and Davis Drewek followed with a single. The pair then pulled off a double steal to put them in scoring position. Coombes managed to get out of the tight spot with a double punch and throw game, securing a flyout to end the frame.
LCU got another run late in the fourth, as Edgar Hernández walked and flew second. Caden Hensley drove him with a single. In the fifth, Navarro added the Chaps’ final run with a solo shot to start. It was his sixth home run of the season, which is tied for second on the team.
The only other inning where Coombes had trouble was the sixth, when he walked the first two batters, then walked a third to charge the bases with one out. He retired Cullen Ainsworth and Navarro jumped on a looping one-liner to end the inning.
Coombes sat the Hilltoppers in order in the seventh to complete his second straight complete shutout. The right-hander has now gone 14 consecutive innings without allowing a run.
There were five lead changes in the second game of the day, as the two teams combined for 15 total runs and the Hilltoppers just avoided another Chaparral comeback.
The first inning was scoreless, but St. Edward’s came up the board in the second, starting a swing that would bounce over the next three innings.
Lubbock Christian regained the lead late in the second when Jaxson Edwards single to drive in Donohoe and Jarred Gibson. SEU then responded with two runs in the top of the third, including one on a Bailey homer to center field.
At the end of the third, Edward Acosta, Mendazona and Navarro all picked to start the inning. Navarro’s single drove in a run, and another scored on a Donohoe single later in the frame. Next, Gibson worked a four-length walk to charge the bases.
At that time, the Hilltoppers fired Eric Worden for Flores, and the reliever got a double ground game to end the Chap rally.
SEU took the lead for good in the top of the fourth, earning a run on an error, another on a passed fly and two more on Bailey’s second homer of the day, making the lead 7-4. LCU nearly got the swing up the bottom of the inning with two runs, but trailed one.
Flores settled in after the fourth, sitting the LCU in the order in the fifth and sixth innings. In the top of the sixth, his offensive play earned him another insurance run with a hit-per-pitch and two singles against reliever Chap Peyton Hutson.
That run proved important in the seventh and final frame, as the Chaps showed up to beat by two. Important, because Mendazona started and smashed a home run to right field to start the inning. Again, Flores sat the next three batters to preserve SEU’s first win of the series.
IN THE NUMBERS
.700 | LCU third basemen George Mendazona has seven hits in 10 at bats against the Hilltoppers, including two doubles, a home run and a walk
28 | With two runs in the first inning of Game 1 of the doubleheader, the Chaparrals scored 28 first-inning runs this season while limiting their opponents to 7
.461 | SEU shortstop Morgan Allen has also had a strong weekend so far, going 6-13 for a .461 batting average against the Chaps.
The Chaps still have a series lead and a chance to win the series on Sunday in the final against St. Edward’s, which kicks off at 1 p.m. at Hays Field.