GEORGETOWN – A trio of pitchers helped the Southwestern University baseball team hold the Crusaders bats at bay as the Pirates beat the University of Dallas 3-2 Friday night keeping postseason hopes alive.
Clayton Sparks guided a two out single up the middle to score Charlie St. Clair in the eighth inning giving Southwestern (11-26, 8-8) a 3-2 lead which they would hold onto for the win. Sparks and St. Clair both combined for four of the Pirates seven hits in the win while Matt Litz (1-2) shut down Dallas 1-2-3 in the ninth for his first win.
Litz pitched the final 1.2 innings and did not allow a base runner while striking out two Crusaders in relief. His effort moved the Pirates just one win away from clinching the No. 4 seed in the SCAC Championship as Southwestern entered the series tied with Dallas in a winner-take-all series to earn the final spot in the tournament.
Jeremy Rice scattered three hits – the only hits Dallas managed in the game – while he was only charged with one of the two runs allowed. Brett Marcom started the sixth inning and did not allow a hit in 2.1 innings of work while walking three and striking out one for Southwestern.
Both teams struggled offensively before Dallas scored the game's first run on a Pirate error before a sacrifice fly gave the Crusaders a 2-0 edge in the top of the fifth.
However, the Pirates would get a run back in the bottom of the fifth when Chase Allen singled to start the inning and was followed by a double from Clayton Sparks. Dickson Wharton pinch ran for Allen and scored on a sacrifice fly from Ben Little to make it a one run game.
In the bottom of the sixth the Pirates would tie the game as Will Cates reached on an error from Mark Carlson that scored Charlie St. Clair. St. Clair singled and moved to second on a ground out before stealing third to set up the score.
St. Clair stole his 14 base of the year giving the Pirates 87 on the year as a team and just six shy of tying the single-season record set in 2002. The Pirates entered the weekend with the fifth most stolen bases in NCAA III and just 21 behind the nation's leader Framingham State.
The Pirates and Crusaders close out the series Saturday with a twin-bill at Rockwell Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.