ABILENE, Texas – McMurry University baseball utilized a late inning rally in Game One and an dominating pitching performance by senior Joel DePorte in the nightcap, to earn a Heartland Conference doubleheader sweep of Texas A&M International University at Walt Driggers Field. The War Hawks (15-19, 9-10 HC) won by scores of 6-5 and 3-1 over the Dustdevils (12-23, 4-13 HC).
TAMIU built up a 4-0 advantage over McM after 2 ½ innings of the first game, chasing cM starter Lanny Zier. All four of those Dustdevil tallies would be charged to Zier, who permitted six hits in his shortest stint as a starter this season. Freshman Trevor Ragsdale came on to close out the third frame.
Ragsdale would give McM head coach John Byington 3 2/3 innings of scoreless, two-hit relief work. Ragsdale extended his scoreless innings streak to 14, covering his last four appearances.
In the bottom of the third, Jeremy Ruiz was hit by a Jeremy Gonzalez pitch to open the inning. Eric Preuss followed with a double down the rightfield line, advancing Ruiz to third. Kyle Sargent’s sacrifice fly plated Ruiz to make it 4-1.
Christian Simmons laced a one-out double down the leftfield line that drove in Preuss, cutting it to 4-2 before TAMIU retired the side.
In the bottom of the sixth, the War Hawks knotted the game at 4-4. Zack Hagan and AJ Dupree opened with back-to-back singles to chase Gonzalez. Jared Curnel took the hill for the Dustdevils and promptly got Ben Douglas to fly out to center for the first out.
Eric Moritz then drew a walk to load the bases. Catcher Greg Koll then singled thru the left side of the infield to bring home Hagan. With the bases still full of War Hawks, Ruiz lifted a deep fly to center that was more than adequate to allow Dupre to score the tying run.
Byington then called on Mitch Labbie to take the mound for the seventh. But Labbie gave up a walk and two hits, resulting in the go-ahead run for TAMIU, 5-4.
Down to their last at-bats, the “cardiac War Hawks” found a way –albeit unconventional – to eek out the victory.
Sargent led off with an infield single, followed by a bunt single from Simmons. With Hagan at the plate, a balk was called on Curnel and, with first base now open, Hagan was walked to set up the force. Dupre flied out to shallow left for the first out of the inning.
That brought up Douglas with the bases loaded and one out. The left-hand hitting Douglas grounded a ball to TAMIU secondbaseman Nathan Halas with what looked like a game ending double play. But Halas’ toss to shortstop Michael Colorado covering the bag sailed into left field, allowing Sargent and Simmons to score and giving McM the 6-5 win.
Labbie (4-3) got the win for the War Hawks.
Sargent (2-for-3) and Simmons (2-for-4) both had multi-hit games, as well as driving in one run apiece.
In Game Two, DePorte scattered nine hits by TAMIU, but otherwise kept himself out of trouble with good control. DePorte struck out two and did not walk a batter in evening his personal record at 4-4. DePorte gave up just an unearned run in the fourth inning in posting his third complete game of the season. Nine innings was also his longest stint of the year.
Dupre’s RBI single in the first gave McM the early lead, only to be tied by the Dustdevils in the fourth. In the sixth, McMurry got three-consecutive singles from Simmons, Hagan and Dupre to pull ahead, 2-1.
McM added some insurance in the eighth. Blake Smith reached on an error and was sacrificed to second. Simmons’ single through the right side made it the 3-1 final score.
In the second game, McMurry’s 2-3-4 hitters of Simmons, Hagan and Dupre each had two hits. That accounted for six of the team’s seven hits in the game.
McMurry will go for the series sweep of the Dustdevils on Saturday. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. at Driggers Field.