LUBBOCK, TX (March 25, 2022) – Lubbock Christian University trailed by no less than five points in Friday night’s series opener against St. Edward’s, but a seventh-place finish in the bottom of the sixth led the LCU to a 12-10 victory.
The Hilltoppers (18-11, 18-11 LSC) actually beat the Chaps (21-6, 18-6 LSC) 15-13 in the ball game, but LCU hit .429 with runners in scoring position against only .267 in these situations for SEU.
St. Edward’s drew first blood in the game, scoring a pair of runs in the second after both teams were scoreless in the first. The Hilltoppers were threatening for more, with runners on the corners with two outs, but starter Chap Tyler Hardwick got a groundout to end the inning.
LCU squandered a chance late in the second when they put their first two batters in and scored no runs. However, they got on the board in the third, taking the lead with a four-pointer. It was the bottom of the order that got things going, because Carson Ogilvie single and Caden Hensley market to start the frame. The pair scored on a par single George Mendazona. Larry Leita drove in another run with a sack fly and Mendazona scored on a par single Mason Donohoe.
Mendazona had a huge night at the plate overall, adding a third RBI later in the game and going 3-for-5 at the plate with a pair of doubles. Chap third basemen are now batting .357 on the season.
The Hilltoppers tied the game late in the fourth and built their five-point lead with three in the fifth and two more in the top of the sixth. LCU, meanwhile, went scoreless late in the fourth and fifth, despite setting up their first hitter in both frames.
The Chaps had their first hitter on a lot Friday night, having anyone hit in every inning but the first for .875 (7-8) on-base percentage in those situations.
In sixth, Lubbock Christian was finally able to take advantage of it. With SEU starter Wesley Gafford approaching the 100 pitch mark and apparently starting to tire, Jarred Gibson chosen to begin with. Gibson would strike again before the end of the inning, as LCU sent 12 men to the plate in total.
Luis Navarre chose to tie the game with one out and scored the go-ahead after back-to-back wild pitches. Gibson’s second hit of the inning — a double that the right fielder lost in the lights — marked the frame’s final run.
The Chaps brought Canon Davis to close the game, replacing Logan Ellis on the mound. Ellis took the victory in relief, allowing three runs on a few hits in his 2.0 innings of work. It’s his first win of the season.
Davis did a great job finishing the game, earning his third save of the season. The right-hander looked in trouble early on, allowing a one-out single and a walk in the top of the seventh, but he got out of the jam and worked a perfect eighth.
In the ninth, SEU shortstop Morgan Allen tripled with one out to raise concern. Allen was a thorn in the side of the Chaps all night, going 4 for 5 on the nine hole with a homer and the triple. He scored on a pitch before another Hilltopper single, but Davis forced Stacey Bailey out to end the game.
IN THE NUMBERS
.319 | George Mendazona got his first hit with the bases loaded this season in the fourth inning of the game. Chap hitters are now 15 for 47 in base-loaded situations this season for a .319 batting average
3 | For the second straight game, LCU pitchers combined to retire just three batters. They’ve struck out less than three batters in a game twice this season, and both games went just seven innings.
.459 | Chap shortstop Carson Ogilvie was on a tear in March. With his 2-for-4 showing on Friday, he’s now 17-for-37 on the month for a .459 batting average
The Chaps can win the series on Saturday if they sweep the doubleheader, which begins at 2 p.m. at Hays Field.