LONGVIEW, Texas – Getting in two final games before turning the calendar to April, the LeTourneau University baseball team picked up where they left off last night. They won a pair of one-run games over the University of the Ozarks by scores of 4-3 and 9-8 at Conrad-Vernon Field in Longview, Texas on Saturday, March 31.
Winners of four-straight, LETU is now 16-10 overall and 8-4 in the American Southwest Conference while the Eagles improved to 13-13 overall and 8-7 in the ASC.
Runs once again proved to be at a premium to open up the twin bill, with the YellowJackets using a leadoff walk and sacrifice fly to drive in the first run of the game to take a 1-0 over the Eagles. Aggressive plate appearances by both teams led to quick outs and a fast-moving game, with a total of six base runners on two hits through the first three innings of play. UO would tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth, doing all of their damage with two outs. A two-out single would be followed up by an error that extended the inning and moved the Ozarks base runner to third before eventually scoring on an RBI single.
Stalled offensive production left the game tied heading to the bottom of the sixth, where LeTourneau managed to put together a three-hit inning and take advantage of a fielding error in the outfield to bring home three runs and take a 4-1 lead heading into the final inning of the day-opening seven-inning game. Things would get interesting in the top of the seventh as LETU would appear to be on their way to an easy inning before an error extended the game for Ozarks with two outs. Back-to-back hits then pulled UO to within one at 4-3 with a runner on second, eventually moving the runner over to third on a passed ball. With the game-tying run 90 feet away from scoring, the YellowJackets finally got the out they needed with a groundout to end the game to hold on for the one-run victory.
Junior Brandon Ramirez led the limited offensive output for LETU, collecting two hits and drawing one walk. Gonzalo Sosa had two RBI while Will Bradshaw, Jacob Jones, and Ramirez all scored one run. Andrew Harlan earned his second win of the year, allowing one run on five hits while throwing just 59 pitches in six innings of work. Kolton Eberlan worked two-thirds of an inning in relief before Bradshaw moved over from his infield position to get the final out of the game and earn his first save of the year.
A slow start in the series finale for LeTourneau saw Ozarks take a 1-0 lead in the top of the third after putting two runners on with one out and scoring on a fielding error. UO pushed their lead to 2-0 with back-to-back hits to lead off the top of the fourth inning as a double would be followed up by an RBI single to put LETU in their most massive deficit of the series. The YellowJackets finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth by putting together a two-out rally as Bradshaw would reach with a one-out walk before stealing second to move into scoring position. Ramirez got LeTourneau on the board with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 4-2. Noah Mahoney then delivered a two-run blast to left field to give LETU a 3-2 lead while bringing up Carson Dickey who extended the inning with a single to force an Ozark’s pitching change. Eli Birriel gave LeTourneau their fourth-straight hit with a bunt single to continue the inning, allowing for a double-steal and throwing the error to score Dickey and extend the lead to 4-2.
The score would remain a 4-2 lead for the YellowJackets until the top of the sixth when the Eagles put pressure on LeTourneau and forced two errors to go along with three hits to score two runs and tie the game, despite seeing the go-ahead run thrown out at the plate on a single to center field. LeTourneau would be unable to reclaim the lead in the bottom of the sixth, but redeem themselves in the bottom of the seventh by putting the first five runners of the inning aboard and break the game open with a five-run inning.
Both teams would retire in order in the eighth to send things to the ninth, where once again Ozarks would not go down quietly and make things interesting just as they had done all series long. A leadoff single and walk put runners on first and second with no outs before a fielder’s choice saw everyone safe due to a fielding error by the YellowJackets. A fly out to left field would not be far enough to score a run, leaving the bases loaded for UO’s six-hole hitter who would clear the bases with a grand slam. With the five-run cushion now down to a single-run lead, LETU would get a fly out and ground out to end the game and sweep their first series of the season.
Mahoney carried the big stick for LeTourneau in game two, driving in four runs and scoring two more while going two-for-four at the plate while Dickey had a team-high three hits. Lee Hosie, Bradshaw, Dickey, and Birriel all stole one base in the victory, while LeTourneau as a team did not strike out a single time. A total of three pitchers would be used by the YellowJackets in the game, with starter Bryce Brueggemeyer (3-3) earning the win after going 5.2 innings and allowing four runs on five hits while striking out three. A day after receiving a win in extra-innings, Nate Hoelker would make a relief appearance and throw two and one-thirds innings before turning things over to Haden Simmons who pitched the final inning.
Just four more ASC series remain in the regular-season for LETU, with next week taking place at home as part of NCAA Division III Week and Homecoming for the YellowJackets. LeTourneau will take on Sul Ross State on Friday at 7 p.m. to open up a three-game set at Conrad-Vernon Field with both teams currently among the top three of the ASC standings.
RICHARDSON, Texas – The LeTourneau University softball team saw the game-tying run come to the plate in the late stages of both games, but could not come through with a clutch hit in 4-2 and 7-5 losses at the University of Texas-Dallas at the UTD Softball Field in Richardson, Texas on Friday, March 30.
LETU is now 7-18 overall and 5-16 in the American Southwest Conference while the Comets improved to 14-11 overall and 10-5 in the highly competitive ASC.
After getting shutout on Thursday evening, the YellowJackets would give up a single run two hits to fall behind early in game one before taking their first lead of the series on a Bailey Woodard one-out home run in the top of the second. The Comets would respond with a single run in the bottom of the second, but leave the bases loaded as a groundout to third got LeTourneau out of the jam with the score knotted at 2-2.
UTD tacked on a single run for the third straight inning in the bottom of the third to reclaim a one-run lead at 3-2 and then take their largest lead of the game at 4-2 on a two-out RBI single in the fourth. LETU put a runner on with two outs in the fifth, but couldn’t get anything going offensively before being retired in order in the sixth which left the YellowJackets down to their final three outs. Following a groundout, Woodard would get on base with a single to start the top of the seventh, but see a foul out to the catcher put LETU down to their final out. A walk and a hit batter loaded the bases and put the go-ahead run at first, but the YellowJackets failed to capitalize as a fly out ended the game.
Two of LeTourneau’s four hits came from the bat of Woodard, while freshman Ethel Warren would collect the other two singles. Hana Bonner and Amber Fillbrandt each drew one walk for the YellowJackets, with Kelsi Coleman earning her way on base after being hit by a pitch. Julie Martinez (1-7) and Ashley Burdine split time in the circle, with each pitcher throwing three innings. The pair would combine to strike out two batters while allowing a total of 10 hits.
Offensive production picked up for both squads in the series finale, with the Comets jumping out to a 3-0 lead after one inning of play before taking a 5-1 lead into the fourth inning. The three-run first for Texas-Dallas came on just one hit and two walks to go along with an error and two stolen bases. LeTourneau managed to cut into the lead by getting one run back in the top of the second with Fillbrandt hitting a one-out double before a Jacie Gilbert RBI single down the right-field line got the YellowJackets on the scoreboard.
Following a two-run third inning on a two-RBI single for UT-Dallas to make the score 5-1, LETU scored a pair of their own in the top of the fourth by taking advantage of a two-out error by the Comet first baseman. A Macey Mize solo home run in the top of the fifth cut further into the UTD lead to make the score 5-4, but a two-run bottom of the fifth by Texas-Dallas pushed the deficit back to three runs for LeTourneau as both runs would score with two outs in the inning.
LETU saw two of their first three batters reach base in the top of the sixth to bring game-tying run to the plate with one out. However, Texas-Dallas once again found a way to get outs when they needed them most by getting a strikeout and line out to end the inning with runners on first and second. The YellowJackets would appear to grab some momentum to lead off the top of the seventh with a solo home run from Ashlin Roach, but it would be all that the LeTourneau offense could muster while falling two runs short of tying the game.
Gilbert led all players in the game with three hits, going a perfect three-for-three while driving in one run and scoring once. Roach also collected multiple hits in the game for LETU, while Warren, Mize, Fillbrandt, and Hayley Anguiano each had one hit. Fillbrandt started in the circle for the YellowJackets, throwing the first 4.2 innings and allowing seven runs (four earned) while striking out two. Martinez closed out the final one and one-third innings, allowing just two hits to the six batters she faced.
LeTourneau will return home for a three-game series next weekend as part of NCAA Division III Week and 2018 LETU Homecoming and Family Weekend. The YellowJackets will host the University of the Ozarks starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 6th for an ASC doubleheader at the LETU Softball Field.
RICHARDSON, Texas – Despite not allowing any extra-base hits, the LeTourneau University softball team could not overcome a five-run first inning by the University of Texas-Dallas in a 5-0 loss at the UTD Softball Field in Richardson, Texas on Thursday, March 29.
With the loss, LETU is now 7-16 overall and 5-14 in the American Southwest Conference while the Comets won their third-straight game to improve to 12-11 overall and 8-5 in the ASC.
In a game that saw the YellowJackets put runners on base in five of the seven innings, it would be UTD that would take advantage of five singles and five stolen bases to jump out to a 5-0 lead after one inning of play. The top of the first inning saw LeTourneau collect back-to-back one-out singles, but see a pair of runners stranded before allowing the Comets to take the lead in the bottom half of the inning.
LETU would then strand a leadoff single in the top of the second and a pair of runners in scoring position in the fourth, but manage to keep the deficit at five after retiring eight of the next nine Texas-Dallas batters. An Ethel Warren one-out double in the top of the fifth would put another runner in scoring position for the YellowJackets, but UTD once again would manage to get out of the inning unscathed. LeTourneau would get only one more chance to start a rally and cut into the Comet lead, stranding a runner at second in the sixth before going down in order in the seventh to drop the series opener.
Sophomore Julie Martinez struck out four batters, going the distance in the circle while allowing a total of seven hits and walking one batter. LETU’s seven hits would be scattered across a total of seven batters, with Warren and senior Bailey Woodard collecting the only extra-base hits of the game. Junior Macey Mize would steal the single base of the game for LeTourneau, in addition to managing a hit.
Tomorrow afternoon will feature a doubleheader between the YellowJackets and Comets, with first-pitch of game one scheduled for 12:00 p.m.
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