HPU baseball claims first ASC series victory of the spring over Ozarks

DERRICK STUCKLY BROWNWOOD BULLETIN derrick.stuckly@brownwoodbulletin.com

LARKSVILLE, Ark. — The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets earned their first American Southwest Conference baseball series win of the spring, taking Game 3 from Ozarks, 6-2, Saturday afternoon.

Howard Payne (5-5, 2-4) won the series opener, 16-2, Friday, and dropped Game 2 by a 6-4 count in a contest that was finished Saturday due to darkness.

In Saturday’s weekend finale, the Yellow Jackets racked up all the offense they needed in the top of the first inning with four runs.

HPU’s Colton Brown and Will Roberts launched back-to-back solo homers to left field off Ozarks (3-7, 1-5) starting pitcher Tyler Erickson to begin the contest. Matthew Daniel and Kyle Kulczyk followed with consecutive singles ahead of a John Elmore sacrifice bunt. Jake Sadler then delivered a two-RBI single to plate Daniel and Kulczyk to round out the first-inning scoring.

Leading 4-2, the Yellow Jackets tacked on insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively.

In the seventh, Cody Cain reached on a one-out error and scored on an RBI single to left field by Roberts. In the eighth, Sadler walked, Dustin DeJohn singled and Cain walked, all with one out, to load the bases. Joshua Martinez followed with an RBI single that brought home Sadler to complete the scoring.

The Yellow Jackets finished with 10 hits, led by three from Kulczyk, two from Roberts and one apiece by Brown, Daniel, Sadler, DeJohn and Martinez.

On the mound, Matthew Parks tossed eight innings of eight-hit ball with four strikeouts and three walks to notch the victory. Jamie Boyd worked the ninth inning where he yielded one base hit.

Howard Payne will return to action Friday and Saturday as the Yellow Jackets host Louisiana College for a three-game ASC series.