The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets remained undefeated at home and notched their 10th win of the season as they recorded a 7-3 non-conference victory over American Southwest Conference rival Hardin-Simmons Tuesday afternoon at Don Shepard Park.
Tied at 3 heading to the bottom of the seventh inning, the Yellow Jackets (10-4) chalked up four runs to snatch the victory and complete their comeback from a three-run deficit.
In the bottom of the seventh, Jay Holland drew a leadoff walk, Cliff Lunceford followed with a double down the right field line and Noah Payne reached on a walk to fill the sacks with no outs. Benjamin Lewis then delivered a two-RBI single to center field that scored Holland and Lunceford.
With one out in the frame, Blake Laney came through with an RBI single to right field that brought home Payne. Joshua Rodriguez then reached on an error, which allowed Lewis to score the seventh HPU run.
Down 3-0 after Hardin-Simmons (7-10) batted in the third, Howard Payne drew even with a three-spot in the bottom of the fourth.
Blake Null doubled down the left field line to start the Jackets’ fourth, and later Rodriguez reached on a one-out throwing error that allowed Null to tally HPU’s first run. David Groves was then hit by a pitch ahead of an RBI sacrifice fly from John Killough that plated Hunter Bazan, who earlier reached on a dropped third strike. With two outs, Lunceford’s RBI single up the middle scored Groves with the tying run.
HPU finished with seven hits — two each by Lunceford and Lewis and one apiece by Payne, Laney and Null.
On the mound, Wesley Smith picked up the win in relief, working 1.2 scoreless innings with one hit, one walk and one strikeout. Evan Rodriguez picked up the save, tossing 1.1 scoreless innings with one hit and one walk allowed. Chandler Clark, Kyle Purdes and Kory Owen also saw time on the mound.
The Yellow Jackets, who are 5-0 at home this season, host Ozarks (8-7, 3-3) for three ASC games this weekend. Doubleheader action begins at 1 p.m. Friday with a single game to follow at 1 p.m. Saturday.