The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets split a pair of non-conference baseball outings, falling to the New Jersey City University Gothic Knights, 6-1, Monday in San Antonio before rebounding for a 14-6 home victory over the Blackburn Beavers Tuesday.
The Yellow Jackets (8-11, 4-5) recorded 17 hits off Blackburn (3-6) pitching, led by three each from Jonathan McKay and Derek Gifford, two apiece from Joey Villarreal, Stephen Prewitt and Cade Varrichio, and one apiece from R.J. Roberts, Rylee McGee, Nolyn Box, Noah Coronado and Wylan Kolts.
On the mound, J.T. Howard, Ty Garner, Nick Diaz, Johnny Cravey, Bryant Chambers and Xavier Haines combined to allow three earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and three walks.
The Yellow Jackets took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first as Gifford's RBI single scored McKay, who walked with one out. After McGee was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Box walked with the sacks full to score Roberts, who earlier singled, for the 2-1 edge.
HPU boosted the advantage to 6-2 in the third as McGee's two-RBI single scored Griffin and Roberts, who singled and walked to start the frame. Varrichio singled home Prewitt, who reached on a base hit earlier, to increase the lead to 5-2. Villarreal followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to plate McGee.
Howard Payne's lead stood at 8-3 after five innings as Box led off with a single and scored on Villarreal's two-out double, then McKay singled home Villarreal.
The Yellow Jackets tacked on a run in the sixth as Prewitt tripled with one out and later scored on a wild pitch.
HPU padded the cushion to 13-5 in the seventh as Varrichio doubled, then Wert reached on error that scored Varriochio. McKay followed with an RBI single that plated Wert; Villarreal, who singled, came home on a wild pitch; and Prewitt's RBI ground out plated McKay.
The final run for the Yellow Jackets crossed the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning as Kolts singled home Coronado, who began the frame with a base hit.
In the Yellow Jackets' loss to New Jersey City University Monday, the score was knotted at 4 after one inning, Howard Payne built a 5-4 lead in the second, but NJCU (1-6) opened a 7-5 advantage after four innings and never trailed again.
The Yellow Jackets finished with 11 hits — including three and three RBI apiece from Gifford and Seth Stephens, two and an RBI from Roberts, and one hit and one RBI apiece from McKay, Prewitt and Kolts.
On the mound, Ethan Cerna, Koby Hasty, Seth Brody, Landin Blass and Kory Owen combined to yield 12 earned runs on 13 hits with nine walks and six strikeouts.
Defensively, the Yellow Jackets committed four errors.
Howard Payne will be back in action March 20-21 when Ozarks visits for a three-game American Southwest Conference series.