OKLAHOMA CITY (May 4, 2013) – No.5 Lubbock Christian University survived a late rally from No.1 Oklahoma City University and a Christian Vazquez base hit to score Brent Leslie in the tenth inning proved to be the difference, as the Chaparrals claimed the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Championship with a 6-5 extra innings victory Saturday afternoon at a brisk Jim Wade Stadium.
Vazquez tried to set the initial tone of the game, sending a 2-1 pitch in the opening at-bat of the game over the right field fence for a lead-off solo home run and a 1-0 LCU lead. Oklahoma City answered right back in the bottom of the second inning with Forrest Smith connecting with a two-run home run to right field for a 2-1 OCU lead. The Chaps regained the lead in the fourth inning with Brandon Wilson going deep to right-centerfield for a solo shot to tie the game and Jason Fisch grounded out to score Joel Lutz from third base for a 3-2 advantage. Each team had an opportunity to score in the sixth inning. LCU loaded the bases with one out, but relief pitcher Ryan Gibson forced a fielder's choice put-out at home and struck out Tanner Rainey to end LCU's threat. The Stars had a runner at third base and a line shot to first base was robbed with Wilson making a diving catch to prevent the tying run to cross. With two outs in the top of the ninth, LCU added insurance runs with back-to-back two-out singles by Wilson and Lutz. The two runs provided LCU a 5-2 lead and the insurance was needed.
Oklahoma City rallied in the ninth inning with Jonathan Rodriguez walking to lead off the inning. It would be the last batter Kyle Forsyth faced, as Monty McCasland came out to attempt the save. McCasland issued a pair of walks and the bases were loaded. A ground out led to a run and a Dalton Silva pitch with two outs and runners on the corners led to a passed ball, which allowed the Stars to score a run and place the tying run at third base. Chris Wallis hit a line drive to shallow left centerfield. Chaps left fielder Brett Kauten made a diving catch attempt, but the ball squirted out of his glove as he hit the ground.
The run led to extra innings with the score tied 5-5. In the tenth inning, Leslie and Rainey each singled with one out to bring up Vazquez with two runners aboard. Vazquez singled to centerfield and Leslie beat the throw home for the eventual game-winning run, as Silva retired the Stars in order for the win (3-0).
The crazy ending overshadowed the pitching performance by Chaps starting pitcher Kyle Forsyth. He went eight innings and allowed three runs off five hits and struck out six. The loss for OCU fell against Patrick Goelz, who fell to 4-2 on the season.
The win was LCU's first SAC Tournament title since winning back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009. The Chaps are 42-15 on the season with the win, while OCU fell to 47-11. OCU had won all four prior meetings during the regular season and Saturday's result was the fourth decided by one run between the two teams. Both LCU and OCU will head to the NAIA postseason and await National Championship Opening Bid placements announced Monday at noon by the NAIA. Oklahoma City is hosting, but LCU will more than likely head on the road and will serve as a No.1 seed at one of the nine host sites.