BROWNWOOD – A late rally fell just short Tuesday in the season opener for the Southwestern University baseball team falling to Howard Payne, 6-5, in non-conference action.
The Pirates (0-1) got timely hitting most of the afternoon, but came up just short in the top of the ninth inning as the Yellow Jackets (1-0) hung on for the win in the opener for both teams.
After falling behind 2-0, Southwestern battled back to earn a run in the top of the fourth inning on a Zach Lynch double. Lynch helped pace the Pirates offensively as one of three Pirates to finish with two hits as the senior added two RBIs.
In the top of the sixth, it seemed as though Southwestern had broken the game open to take a 4-2 lead on two hits and a HPU error.
Charlie St. Clair reached on a bunt single and after stealing second was drove home by Lynch.
After Lynch stole second, the speedy Colten Shea reached on an error and made the Yellow Jackets pay reaching third on the miscue. Shea would score one batter later on a passed ball to give the Pirates a lead.
Howard Payne jumped on the senior pitcher as the first two hitters reached safely on a hit and an error. Carl Mueller would come on to relive Seeton, but he walked the first batter before allowing a triple to John Elmore that cleared the bases.
A sacrifice fly pushed the HPU lead to 6-4 before Mueller recorded the first of three strikeouts in relief. The junior right hander was tagged with the loss as he allowed three hits and two runs in 1.2 innings of work.
Southwestern would make another push in the final frame when Shea led-off with a single through the left side. Tyler Herriage pinch hit and scored Shea with a ground out to the right side pulling the Pirates within one run.
The game would come to a drastic halt when two batters later Clayton Sparks was caught stealing to end the game.
Corey Howie went five innings for the Yellow Jackets allowing only three hits and one run as he earned a no-decision. Matthew Parks (1-0) picked up the win for HPU as Jacob Spivey entered in the ninth and earned the save.
The Pirates take on cross-town rival Concordia in the first of a three game series Friday, followed by a twin bill on Saturday. First pitch from Tornado Field is set for 6 p.m.