Games 2 and 3, if needed, begin at 5 p.m. Friday at Eastland

ABILENE — The Early Longhorns erased a four-run deficit and forced extra innings, but still came up short in a 5-4 loss to the Coahoma Bulldogs Thursday night in the opener of a best-of-three Region I-3A baseball bi-district playoff series at Abilene Christian University.

Games 2 and 3, if needed, are set for 5 p.m. today in Eastland.

Despite amassing just four hits, Coahoma (16-9) scored the decisive run in the top of the eighth inning as Logan Franklin reached on a booted ground ball, one of seven errors committed by Early (16-12). Franklin then stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch before the first out was recorded. Braden Pearson then hit another grounder the Early defense botched, which allowed Franklin to score the winning run.

Down 4-3 heading to the bottom of the seventh, Christian Alcorta drew a leadoff walk for the Longhorns and advanced to second and third on a pair of wild pitches. With two outs and Chase Keilers at the plate, Coahoma’s Alex Biddison uncorked the third wild pitch of the inning, allowing Alcorta to score.

Coahoma grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first inning, which grew to 4-0 in the top of the third.

Early cut the deficit in half with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Tristan Horton drew a one-out walk that was followed by a Trace Evans double. A balk allowed Horton to score the first run, then Keilers sacrificed Evans home.

Early crept within 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth as Jonathan Morales led off with a single, moved to second on a Ryan Hill sacrifice and came home on an RBI single by Devyn Burns, one of just five hits for the Longhorns.