GEORGETOWN – The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets reached the 20-win plateau Tuesday night, holding off a late rally by the Southwestern Pirates for a 9-8 non-conference victory.

Leading 9-3 after scoring their final run in the top of the eighth inning, Howard Payne (20-10) surrendered five runs to Southwestern (15-9) in the bottom of the eighth before the rally was quashed.

The Yellow Jackets collected eight hits in their milestone victory, with half of those coming from first baseman R.J. Roberts, who went 4 for 4 — including a solo home run that proved to be the game-wining hit — with three RBI. Ty McCain chipped in a hit and two RBI, Cade Varrichio and Jacob Salazar both finished with one hit and an RBI and Noah Payne tacked on a hit as well.

On the mound, eight Yellow Jacket pitchers — Kory Owen, Landin Blass, Graham White, Seth Owen, Kyle Purdes, Johnny Cravey, Ben Schardt and Xavier Haines — combined to yield six earned runs on 13 hits with eight strikeouts and four walks.

Defensively, the Yellow Jackets committed three errors.

Trailing 2-1 after four innings, HPU grabbed a 5-2 advantage in the fifth inning that grew to 8-3 through six frames.

The American Southwest Conference front-running Yellow Jackets are off until April 12-13 when they resume league action at LeTourneau (16-11, 6-3) in a three-game series.