CLEBURNE, Texas — Texas Lutheran University (TLU) scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat the Southwestern University Pirates baseball team 4-2 in the first game of the SCAC Championship Tournament.
Southwestern University starting pitcher Austin Smith and the defense carried the Pirates throughout seven innings, taking a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
Smith, the conference leader in strikeouts, added 10 more to his season total against nationally ranked (No. 9) TLU.
The Bulldogs struck first in the bottom of the third. Leadoff hitter Trey Albaugh singled to right center to open the inning, advancing to second on a balk and third on a groundout.
Thomas Varner singled to center field to score Albaugh, giving TLU a 1-0 lead.
The Pirates responded in the top of the fifth, getting a leadoff single from Seth Sparks to right center.
After Sparks was advanced to second on a groundout, Ted Lobkowicz hit a RBI-double to for the game.
Hayden Craig doubled down the right field line to put runners on second and third, setting up Lobkowicz's score on a wild pitch to give Southwestern a 2-1 lead.
Smith and the Pirates flirted with danger through the next three innings, putting two on each of the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings before Smith battled back to end each one with a strikeout.
Texas Lutheran finally broke through in the eighth. Smith walked Cameron Wilson to open the inning and the Bulldogs moved him to third on a sacrifice bunt and groundout.
There would be no escaping with a two-out strikeout this time with Albaugh tying the game on a RBI-single to left field.
Smith walked the next batter and a balk advanced both runners to second and third, setting up Thomas Varner's RBI infield single. Texas Lutheran score another run on an error, retiring Smith with Machi Horne taking over on the mound to end the inning.
The Pirates put a runner on with a one-put single but grounded out into a double play to end the game.
With the loss, the Pirates drop to 23-18 on the season. Southwestern is scheduled to play whoever loses between Trinity and Centenary tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.