LAS VEGAS, N.M. (February 10, 2014) – New Mexico Highlands University took advantage of five Lubbock Christian University errors and pounded out 19 hits against seven LCU pitchers en route to an 18-6 win over the Chaparrals in a rubber match of a three-game series Monday afternoon at Brandt Fields.
It was a long but rare day for Chaps head coach Nathan Blackwood, who was very active making trips to the mound. LCU went through seven pitchers in the game, which is the most since they went through seven pitchers on Mar. 13, 2010 facing Oklahoma Christian University. The Chaps could not find a solution to the Cowboys bats, as five of the pitchers were unable to last more than 1.1 innings and no pitcher made it past two innings pitched. Jarret Porter started for LCU and was pulled in the third inning after allowing four runs (three earned) off four hits in two innings of work. He threw over 30 pitches in the first inning alone and was fortunate to keep the Cowboys to a pair of runs in the first inning, as he struck out two batters with the bases loaded to limit the scoring.
LCU had trouble getting any momentum in the game, as NMHU scored in the bottom half of every inning LCU scored a run in, except the seventh inning. Wade Stramp and Hunter McFall opened the first inning with hits, and the two eventually came around and scored for a 2-0 lead. NMHU responded with their first three batters in the bottom of the first reaching base, and a double by Matt Chavez tied the game before Porter's pair of strikeouts helped them out of the jam. LCU regained the lead in the third inning with an RBI-double by Joel Lutz giving LCU a 3-2 lead. The Cowboys quickly jumped ahead in the bottom half of the inning with a double by Jarred Middleton setting up an infield single by Chavez. There was a throwing error on the single leading to a 4-3 Cowboys lead.
The Chaps committed their highest amount of errors since committing five on May 3, 2012 (against Southern Nazarene University). Three of the errors came in the fifth inning and it led to a five-run inning for a 9-3 lead. LCU also aided the Cowboys offense with three walks issued during the inning. NMHU scored seven consecutive runs before the Chaps would get another run across. Ethan Kohnle hit a two-run home run for his first dinger of the season in the sixth inning for LCU, but NMHU matched the two runs in the bottom half of the inning with back-to-back doubles by Javier Ledford and Morgan McCasland for an 11-5 Cowboys lead. Lutz closed the Chaps scoring in the seventh inning with a solo shot for his second home run of the season.
Ryan Taylor was in relief for the Chaps in the seventh inning and retired all three batters he faced, but it was a different story in the eighth inning, as the first three batters reached. LCU attempted a 5-2 fielder's choice on a bases loaded ground ball to Lutz at third base, but catcher Wigberto Nevarez dropped the ball and the run scored. It proved costly, as Jordan Goliat followed with a grand slam. It was part of a seven-run eighth inning for an 18-6 advantage.
The 18 runs scored against the Chaps were the most since Oklahoma Baptist scored 19 against LCU on May 5, 2012. Porter suffered the loss and is now 1-1 on the season. While LCU was struggling from the mound, the same could not be said about the Cowboys pitching. Greg Hansen pitched the first 5.1 innings and allowed five runs off eight hits. He claimed the win (1-0) and Zach Settles claimed a three-inning-save, as Settles pitched the final 3.2 innings allowing one run off three hits.
Brandon Wilson (2-for-4), Lutz (2-for-3) and Nevarez (2-for-5) combined for six of LCU's 11 hits in the game. Lutz finished the game with four runs-batted-in. Jesse Pintado had a hit in the game and finished the series 7-for-11 from the plate. Six Cowboys had multi-hit performances, with Goliat leading the Cowboys with a 3-for-5 performance with four RBI off his grand slam. Chavez (3-for-4) and Ledford (3-for-6) each had a trio of hits for NMHU.
The Chaps have their record go to 3-3 on the season, while NMHU improves to 2-1. LCU was scheduled to play at Wayland Baptist University Thursday, but Blackwood has confirmed that the scheduled contest will move to Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. (at Wilder Field). The next game for LCU is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. against Angelo State University at Hays Field.