ALPINE — Playing four non-conference games against American Southwest Conference rival Sul Ross over the weekend, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets posted a 2-2 record against the host Lobos.
The Yellow Jackets won Friday’s doubleheader finale, 15-10, and Saturday’s first game of a twin bill, 5-3, while the Lobos claimed the series opener, 8-1, and series finale, 8-4.
In Howard Payne’s Saturday victory, the Yellow Jackets scored all five runs in the top of the second inning. Sul Ross mustered one run in the second inning and two more in the fifth.
Brownwood graduate Seth Owen improved to 2-0 on the mound as he allowed three earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks in five innings of work. Xavier Haines and Zach Moseley each pitched an inning of perfect relief, with Moseley collecting a save.
At the plate for HPU, Joshua Gerig doubled and drove in three runs while Brett Quackenbush finished with two hits and an RBI and Cliff Lunceford also added a couple of hits. Jay Holland, David Groves and Ian Tyra also singled, while Jacob Salazar drove in a run.
Friday’s win for HPU saw the Yellow Jackets jump out to a 6-0 lead in the top of the first inning. After two full frames, Howard Payne led 9-4 and the lead grew to 10-4 in the third. The Jackets stretched the advantage to 13-6 in the top of the fifth and added two more runs in the top of the seventh for a 15-7 edge.
Salazar and Brendon Clanton both contributed three hits and three RBIs for the Yellow Jackets, who amassed 14 hits. Groves added a pair of hits and three RBIs, while Benjamin Lewis tallied two hits and a pair of RBIs, Gerig doubled and drove in a run and Lunceford plated a runner as well.
Haines picked up the win in relief on the mound, tossing 2.2 innings of one-run, two-hit ball with a pair of strikeouts. Chad Anders got the start and yielded six runs on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 3.1 innings.
In the series-opening loss to Sul Ross Friday, the Yellow Jackets mustered just one run — in the fourth inning — with six hits.
Bailey Smith accounted for three of Howard Payne’s hits and the lone RBI while Lewis, Lunceford and Noah Payne added one hit each.
On the mound, Jonathan George took the loss with six runs on 10 hits and one walk allowed over three innings.
In the series finale Saturday, Howard Payne owned a 3-1 edge heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, where Sul Ross erupted for six runs.
Chandler Clark, who lasted a third of an inning in relief, was dealt the loss. He gave up two runs on two hits with one strikeout in relief of Matthew Parks. Parks pitched 4.1 innings, giving up four runs on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
Offensively for HPU, the five-hit performance featured a pair from Payne and one each by Groves, Lunceford and Chris Byrd.
The Yellow Jackets (3-4)play their first American Southwest Conference contests of the season at home Friday and Saturday as they host UT-Tyler in a three-game series. Game 1 is set for 2 p.m. Friday at Don Shepard Park, with a noon doubleheader to follow Saturday.