American Southwest Conference baseball action couldn’t have started any better for the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets, who recorded a three-game sweep of the Louisiana College Wildcats Friday and Saturday at Don Shepard Park.
All three games were moved to Brownwood due to the threat of inclement weather in Pineville, Louisiana, and the Yellow Jackets notched victories of 9-3 and 9-2 Friday followed by Saturday’s 17-5 triumph.
In Saturday’s finale, the Yellow Jackets (6-7, 3-0) jumped in front with a six-run bottom of the second inning and put the game away with seven runs in the sixth.
Howard Payne finished with 15 hits, three walks, three hit batters and took advantage of five Louisiana College (4-4, 0-3) errors.
R.J. Roberts and Nolyn Box led the way with three hits each, Noah Payne, Ty McCain and Cliff Lunceford contributed two apiece and Joshua Gerig, Rylee McGee and Jacob Rodriguez each added one. Payne’s three RBIs were a team-best followed by two each from McCain, Roberts, McGee and Lunceford, while Gerig and Rodriguez drove in one apiece.
On the mound, Graham White picked up the win in relief, allowing one run on two hits with one strikeout in 2.1 innings. Preston Newman worked the first 3.2 innings and gave up four runs on five hits with three strikeouts, while Johnny Cravey pitched the final inning and retired all three batters he faced.
In the 9-3 victory Friday, the Yellow Jackets broke a 3-all tie in the bottom of the sixth with six runs.
Howard Payne tallied seven hits — two by Roberts and one each by Payne, Rodriguez, Lunceford, Manny Torralba and Jacob Salazar. Roberts, Torralba and Salazar both plated two runs while Payne, Gerig and Lunceford added an RBI apiece.
On the mound, Bryson Lyro tossed six innings of two-run, three-hit ball with four strikeouts and two walks to notch the victory. Brenden Clanton allowed one hit in one inning of relief.
Friday’s 9-2 win for the Yellow Jackets featured a five-run bottom of the fifth inning that expanded the lead to eight runs. HPU allowed solo runs in the third and seventh innings.
On the mound, Chandler Clark, Kory Owen, Jack Russell, Ryan Richardson and Xavier Haines combined on a nine-hitter with four strikeouts and four walks. Clark picked up the win, working 5.1 innings with one run allowed on five hits with a pair of strikeouts and two walks.
At the plate, HPU’s 10-hit onslaught included two each by Payne, Torralba and McGee, and one apiece from Roberts, Box, Salazar and Lunceford. Roberts, Payne and Torralba drove in two runs apiece while Gerig and Lunceford contributed RBIs as well.
The Yellow Jackets will spend their third consecutive weekend at Don Shepard when Mary Hardin-Baylor visits for a three-game ASC set Friday and Saturday. One game will be played at 1 p.m. Friday with a noon doubleheader to follow Saturday.