GEORGETOWN, Texas – The Southwestern University Pirates baseball team had an opportunity to win with the bat in the hands of its most dangerous hitter but fell short in a 9-8 loss to the Howard Payne University Yellow Jackets.
In the Pirates' previous home series against Austin College, Daniel Montgomery Jr. hit a walk-off grand slam. The SCAC leader in home runs had another opportunity with one on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth but his deep fly ball to left field fell a few feet short of the warning track and into the hands of Yellow Jackets left fielder Stephen Prewitt to seal the Pirates' fate.
Southwestern struck first in the bottom of the first with Montgomery reaching second on a throwing error to first by third baseman Manny Torralba. Byron Dowdell later scored Montgomery with a RBI-single up the middle for a 1-0 lead.
The Pirates added another in the bottom of the third, scoring on a pair of wild pitches from relief pitcher Landin Blass. Howard Payne University cut the Pirates' lead in half on a two-out error in deep centerfield, scoring Prewitt.
Starting pitcher Aaron Clark struggled with his control throughout the game and paid dearly for it in the top of the fifth, walking the first two batters and giving up a RBI single to Cade Varrichio, who entered the game for the ineffective J. Gerig.
After inducing a pop up from Ty McCain, Clark surrendered another RBI single with RJ Roberts going opposite field to right field to score Noah Payne. Torralba hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Varrichio, Prewitt drew another walk, and Jacob Salazar hit a RBI single up the middle to give the Yellow Jackets a 5-2 lead, ending Clark's evening after 4.2 innings with eight walks and five runs given up with four strikeouts.
Koba Kobayashi entered the game and induced a pop up on his first pitch to get out of the inning with two Yellow Jackets left stranded. Kobayashi got in trouble in the top of the sixth, giving up a McCain two-RBI double to left field and Roberts double through the left side to score McCain. Trey Schwarz took the mound and induced a groundout to first and strikeout to get Southwestern out of the inning trailing 8-2.
Southwestern cut into the lead with a RBI-double by Montgomery in the bottom of the sixth to score Seth Sparks but Howard Payne responded with a leadoff home run from Roberts in the top of the eighth off William Sharp.
Kory Owen took the mound for the Yellow Jackets in the bottom of the eighth and surrendered three consecutive singles to right field by Sparks, Chase Thinger, and Hayden Craig with Craig picking up the RBI.
After a Montgomery strikeout, Cole Kelly reached on an error, scoring Thinger and Dowdell blasted a two-RBI triple to right-center. Colby Schmidt followed with a RBI-sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Dowdell to bring the Pirates to within one.
Montgomery took the mound in the top of the ninth, retiring the side with two strikeouts. Xavier Haines started the bottom of the ninth for Howard Payned, striking out Sparks and inducing a groundout by Thinger before walking Craig. Montgomery got a good hit to left field but sent it directly to Prewitt, who ended the game.
The Pirates walked nine and hit two in the loss, falling to 15-9 on the season. Craig, Montgomery, Dowdell, Sparks, and Thinger were each 2-for-5 for the Pirates with Dowdell picking up three RBI and Sparks scoring two runs.
Southwestern will return to conference play this weekend with a three-game series against Texas Lutheran. The first game is on Friday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m. followed by a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 2:00 p.m.