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Baseball - Sat, Apr. 20, 2013

LUBBOCK, Texas (April 19, 2013) – Lubbock Christian University finally found a way to garner a series opening victory, as Josh Powe hit a pinch-hit walk-off double for a 5-4 win in the opener, and then the No.6 Chaparrals completed the doubleheader sweep with a Derek Loera complete-game four-hit 9-1 victory over No.15 Rogers State University Friday in Sooner Athletic Conference play at Hays Field.

LCU battled back from a 4-1 deficit in the opener, taking advantage of a door left open by the Hillcats in the fifth inning. LCU's Brent Leslie led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a single and Brandon Wilson followed with a ground ball to shortstop Jose Olazagasti. It appeared  to be a routine double play ball until Olazagasti's throw to second base sailed into right field. Joel Lutz followed with a sacrifice fly and Brennyn Smith hit a RBI single to cut the deficit to 4-3. RSU had a chance in the seventh inning to grab some insurance with Eric Baker at second base and one out, but Chaps reliever Monty McCasland forced the 'Cats into hitting into a 6-5-4 fielder's choice and Baker was tagged out to kill the rally.

Smith completed a three-hit game with a single to reach base with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jason Fisch came up with two outs and belted a RBI double to left centerfield, as pinch runner Kamron Bownds scored from first base to tie the game. Powe pinch hit for Brett Kauten and hit a high fly ball to shallow right field, but the Hillcats right fielder lost the ball in the sun and Fisch touched home representing the game-winning run to complete the walk-off win.

LCU had 12 hits in the game, but the first 10 were singles. Their only extra-base hits were the two doubles off the bats of their final two batters. RSU starting pitcher Shawn Spainhoward had only allowed six extra-base hits on the season prior to allowing the two LCU doubles. He went the distance and fell to 6-4 on the season allowing five runs, with three of them unearned. Kyle Forsyth went 6.1 innings for LCU and allowed four runs off nine hits. McCasland improved to 3-1 claiming the win in 0.2 innings pitched in relief. Smith led LCU going 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of runs-batted-in. Eric Baker had a 3-for-4 performance with a pair of doubles in the loss for RSU. Both teams struggled with runners in scoring position. RSU was 0-for-5, while LCU was 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The Chaps stranded 10 runners on base.

Loera was in control on the mound in the second game for LCU and he had offense to back him. He faced just three batters over the minimum with four hits allowed in seven innings of work with eight strikeouts. All nine LCU runs came in the first four innings. The first two runs came in the second inning and was on a two-out rally with a single by Tanner Rainey to score Brett Kauten and a double off the right field wall by Christian Vazquez for a 2-0 lead. RSU starting pitcher Kyle Duncan walked the first two lead-off batters and hit Smith in the third inning to load the bases with nobody out. Marshall Williams plated a pair with a two-run single up the middle and Kauten followed with a sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead. Vazquez (single), Brent Leslie (triple), Wilson (double) and Lutz (single) all led off the fourth inning with hits and it was part of a four-run inning to increase the LCU lead to 9-0. RSU's only offense would be by a solo home run in the fifth inning from Cody Campbell for just the second homer allowed this season by Loera.

Williams finished the game 2-for-4 with a pair of runs-batted-in. Lutz (2-for-3) and Vazquez (2-for-4) also had a pair of hits. Loera moved to 8-3 with the win, while Duncan fell to 6-2 allowing nine runs off 10 hits in four innings.

The win by LCU in the opener ended a sequence of four consecutive series opening losses. They improved to 34-13 overall and 14-8 in SAC play. RSU fell to 30-15 overall and 14-8 in conference. The series continues Saturday at noon from Hays Field with a doubleheader.