The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets opened the 2015 baseball campaign with a 15-13 victory over the Southwestern Pirates Tuesday afternoon at Don Shepard Park.
The Yellow Jackets (1-0), who ended a 12-year American Southwest Conference tournament drought last season, venture to McMurry Tuesday in their final game before ASC play begins Feb. 20 at Mary Hardin-Baylor.
In their first of just two conference tune-ups, the Yellow Jackets broke open a 5-all tie with four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, then tacked on four more runs in the seventh to distance themselves.
Leading by seven runs in the ninth inning, the Yellow Jackets hung on for the narrow victory.
Howard Payne recorded 10 hits, drew six walks and reached base on three errors.
John Elmore drove in four RBIs for the Yellow Jackets and added one hit, Dustin DeJohn contributed two hits and a pair of RBIs and Matthew Daniel and Walker Dailey chipped in one hit and two RBIs apiece. Micah Thompson finished with two hits and scored three runs while Brandon Garrett and Will Roberts each added one hit and one RBI. Jake Sadler was also credited with an RBI while Cody Cain recorded a base hit.
On the mound, Shae Edmonds, Shawn Brody, Dustin Kelver, Tyler Colburn, Wesley Smith and Jacob Spivey combined to yield 11 hits with 10 walks, three wild pitches and a balk.
Edmonds, a freshman from Burnet, got the start and allowed four runs on four hits with two strikeouts and two walks over 2.1 innings. Brody picked up the win as he worked three innings and surrendered one run on two hits with a pair of strikeouts and three walks. Kelver pitched 2.2 innings, yielding three runs on three hits with four strikeouts and a walk.
During the five-run ninth inning for Southwestern (0-1), Colburn gave up four runs on four walks and two wild pitches in one-third of an inning; Smith surrendered one run on two hits in one-third of an inning; and Spivey gave up a hit but notched the last out.
For Southwestern, Will Cates homered twice and drove in three runs, Robert Wehman added three hits and an RBI and Ethan Hallmark and Thomas O’Brien combined for three hits with two RBIs apiece.
Joseph Koch took the loss on the mound, pitching 3.2 innings of relief with three runs allowed on three hits with three strikeouts and a walk.
HPU grabbed a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a two-out, two-RBI triple by DeJohn that scored Daniel and Cody Brown, which followed an RBI sacrifice fly from Garrett, which plated Elmore.
Trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the fourth, the Yellow Jackets drew even when Elmore reached on a throwing error that allowed Cain and Thompson to score.
The Yellow Jackets took the lead for good with a four-run fifth as Sadler’s RBI sac fly drove home Garrett; Dailey’s bases-loaded walk plated Dailey; and Elmore singled home both Cain and Thompson.
Howard Payne tacked on its 10th run in the sixth as Daniel scored on a wild pitch.
The Yellow Jackets added four more runs in the seventh on an RBI single by Dailey that scored Thompson; a two-RBI triple by Daniel that plated Dailey and Cain; and an RBI sacrifice fly by Brown that brought home Daniel.
One more HPU run crossed the plate in the bottom of the eighth as Roberts’ RBI single plated DeJohn.