In a weekend baseball series shifted to Don Shepard Park in Brownwood due to weather, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets and the University Dallas split the first two games Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets claimed the opener, 9-6, but Dallas rallied for a 16-3 win in the nightcap. The rubber game of the series will be played at 1:30 p.m. today.
In the victory for Howard Payne (2-1), the Yellow Jackets scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to rally from a 5-4 deficit.
The Yellow Jackets finished with 12 hits, led by three from Kyle Kulczyk and two each from Colton Brown, Jake Sadler and Cody Cain.
Dallas’ Martin Cronin was tagged with the loss as he gave up eight runs on 11 hits in 4.2 innings.
On the mound, Jacob Spivey started and worked the first four innings for HPU, allowing three runs on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Dustin Kelver came on in relief over the final three innings to notch the win, yielding three runs on two hits with one strikeout and one walk.
HPU’s four-run fifth began with Matthew Daniel reaching second on an error to start the frame. Pinch-runner C.J Schumann later scored on an RBI single to left-center by Kulczyk, which knotted the score at 5.
With one out, Sadler doubled, which advanced Kulczyk to third. Kulczyk then scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
HPU’s seventh and eighth runs came home on a two-out, two-RBI single down the left field line by Carlton Brown. John Elmore, who reached on a fielder’s choice, and Joshua Martinez, who singled, scored the runs.
The Yellow Jackets tacked on their ninth run in the bottom of the sixth as Sadler reached on a two-out error that plated Schumann, who started the inning with a walk and a steal of second base.
Howard Payne raced out to a 4-0 lead after three innings before Dallas surged ahead, 5-4, in the top off the fifth.
The Yellow Jackets tallied a single run in the bottom of the second as Cain’s RBI single to center field plated Sadler, who reached on an error to start the inning.
During the bottom of the third, all three HPU runs scored due to Dallas miscues as Kulczyk, Dustin DeLeon and Sadler, who all singled, crossed the plate.
For Dallas (2-3), Mark Carlson and Trevor Keele finished with two hits each, while Carlson also contributed a pair of RBIs.
During Dallas’ 16-3 win in the nightcap, Howard Payne trailed 3-1 going to the top of the third inning, where the Yellow Jackets allowed nine runs.
Dallas finished with 15 hits off the HPU pitching combination of Matthew Parks, Kyle Ramon, Quinton Poe, Ethan Ferrel, Mitchell Marquis and Jamie Boyd. No Yellow Jacket pitcher worked more than two innings.
Offensively, HPU collected five hits — two by DeJohn and one each from Brown, Elmore and Brett Quackenbusch.
Evan Eubanks earned the win on the mound for Dallas, allowing one run on two hits over four innings.