MARSHALL — The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets opened their American Southwest Conference baseball series against East Texas Baptist with an 11-inning victory Friday night, but the Tigers rebounded and swept a Saturday doubleheader to earn the series victory.
After HPU’s 3-2, 11-inning triumph Friday night, ETBU recorded a 6-5 win in Saturday’s first game, followed by a 10-2 victory in the weekend finale.
In the Jackets’ lone win, Blake Laney broke a 2-all tie in the top of the 11th with a with a two-out solo home run to left field.
Howard Payne (14-8, 3-6) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning as Noah Payne and Jay Holland reached on consecutive one-out singles ahead of a two-RBI double to center field by John Killough.
East Texas Baptist (13-11, 5-7) rallied with a run in the sixth as Jeremy Bateman reached on a lead single, stole second, moved to third on a ground out and came home on a two-out wild pitch. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Landon Barns connected on a one-out solo home run to knot the score and force extra innings.
The Yellow Jackets finished with 14 hits — three by Holland, two each by Killough, Cliff Lunceford and Jacob Rodriguez and one apiece by David Groves, Benjamin Lewis, Hunter Bazan, Payne and Laney.
Dylan Vilaros started on the mound and worked nine innings, allowing two runs on six hits with nine strikeouts, three walks, and one wild pitch. Brenden Clanton got the win in relief, yielding two hits with a pair of strikeouts in two innings of action.
In Saturday’s one-run loss, the Yellow Jackets overcame a two-run deficit to pull even in the top of the sixth inning, but ETBU responded with the game-winning run in the bottom of the inning.
ETBU’s Zach Gartner led off with a double in the bottom of the sixth then Seth Mikeska was hit by a pitch and Casey Combs reached on an infield single ahead of Barns’ go-ahead RBI single to right field.
HPU opened a 2-0 advantage in the top of the first inning as Lunceford led off with a single, Groves singled and Laney was hit by a pitch. Lewis followed with an RBI ground out to score Lunceford and Bazan’s RBI sacrifice fly plated Groves.
ETBU answered with two runs in the bottom of the first and two more in the third.
The Yellow Jackets crept within 4-3 in the top of the fifth as Laney walked with two outs, Lewis singled to left and Bazan knocked in Laney with a base hit to right.
The Tigers pushed the lead back to two runs, 5-3, in the bottom of the fifth, but the Yellow Jackets drew even in the top sixth. Killough was hit by a pitch with two outs, Lunceford followed with a double and Groves doubled in both base runners.
Seth Owen started on the mound for the Yellow Jackets and gave up four runs on two hits and seven walks with three strikeouts over three innings. Jonathan George was tagged with the loss, surrendering two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and a pair of walks in three frames.
In the series finale, Howard Payne yielded two runs apiece in the bottom of the first and second innings, and trailed 8-0 before finally scoring in the fifth.
The Yellow Jackets’ fifth-inning featured back-to-back homers by Holland and Michael Nowak off Derrick Findley to begin the inning.
Howard Payne finished with six hits as a team — two by Rodriguez and one each by Holland, Nowak, Lunceford and Lewis.
On the mound, Preston Newman took the loss, allowing four runs — two earned — on two hits and three walks over two innings.
The Yellow Jackets host UT-Dallas in ASC action at 2 p.m. Thursday, followed by 1 p.m. doubleheader Friday as league action continues.