GOODWELL, Okla. – The bats were out in full force on Friday afternoon, as the McMurry University baseball team swept Oklahoma Panhandle State University in a Heartland Conference doubleheader, 9-0 and 13-3, at Aggie Field.
The wins helped the War Hawks improve to 5-9 on the year and evened their league record at 3-3.
In the seven-inning first game, McMurry starter Lanny Zier was locked in a pitcher’s duel with OPSU’s Spencer Long for the first five innings. McM led 1-0 after getting an unearned run in the fourth when the Aggies committed two errors and had a passed ball.
In the bottom of the fourth, OPSU had runners at the corner with two out. But Zier was able to induce a lineout to shortstop to quell the threat and hang onto the slim lead.
In the top half of the sixth, McMurry had an offensive explosion. The War Hawks pushed across eight runs in their at-bat. That was five runs more than the McM team had scored in support of Zier in all four of his previous outings this year combined (a total of 21 2/3 innings pitched).
In that huge sixth frame, the War Hawks sent a total of 10 men to the plate. The big blows were a two-run triple by leadoff man Kyle Sargent, an RBI triple by Ben Douglas and a three-run home run by Jeremy Ruiz.
Leading 9-0, Zier (1-3) breezed through the final two innings to earn his first victory as a War Hawk with the complete-game shutout. Zier scattered six hits, struck out four and did not walk a batter.
The top four batters in the McM lineup – Sargent, Nick Marsh, A.J. Dupree and Douglas – each collected two hits in the game. The Nos. 5-7 batters had one hit, apiece, as McM amassed 11 hits in the game.
The second game followed a similar pattern, as the two teams locked horns and the War Hawks leading 5-3 after seven complete innings. McM delivered what would prove to be the knock-out blow in the top of the eighth, sending 13 batters up and adding eight runs to its total.
After OPSU was unable to cut into the deficit in its at-bat in the bottom of the eighth, the game was halted by the 10-run “mercy rule.” McM collected 14 hits in the contest.
And once again it was the top of the McMurry order that did the most damage. Sargent, Marsh and Dupre – again hitting 1-2-3 – went 2-for-5, 3-for-5 and 2-for-3, respectively. Sargent scored once and drove in two runs. Marsh scored three times and also drove in two runs. Dupre had one RBI and also crossed the plate once.
Eric Moritz was the fourth War Hawk to have a multi-hit effort in game two. Moritz was 2-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI.
Thirdbaseman Jeremy Ruiz – 1-for-5 in game two – hit another homer in the nightcap. Ruiz launched a solo shot to lead off the top of the sixth and give McM a 4-2 cushion at the time.
Senior right-hander Joel DePorte was the McM pitcher of record. DePorte (2-1) went five innings and allowed the Aggies five of their eventual eight hits in the game. DePorte was charged with two runs, just one of which was earned.
Trevor Daggon pitched the sixth and seventh frames, with Jesus Vasquez closing out matters in the eighth for McMurry.
The War Hawks will go for the series sweep on Saturday, with a single game beginning at 1 p.m.