Yellow Jackets finish sweep of Ozarks with 8-3 victory

Derrick Stuckly / Brownwood Bulletin
Cody Cain (6) and the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets capped their first ASC season sweep of the season with Friday's 8-3 road triumph over the Ozarks Eagles.

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. — The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets completed their first American Southwest Conference baseball series sweep of the season and vaulted to fifth place in the league standings with a 9-3 victory over the Ozarks Eagles Friday.

Howard Payne, which improved to 9-7 overall and 5-4 in ASC action, began the series with wins of 4-3 and 4-2 Thursday afternoon.

In Friday’s finale, the Yellow Jackets pounded out 11 hits, drew two walks and took advantage of a pair of Ozarks (9-13, 3-9) errors.

The top three batters in the HPU order — Zachary Rodriguez, Noah Payne and Matthew Daniel — contributed two hits apiece while Cliff Lunceford, Seth Dohrman, Cody Cain, Brandon Garrett and Will Roberts added one each. Payne and Cain finished with a team-best two RBIs each while Rodriguez, Lunceford, Roberts and Bailey Smith chipped in one RBI apiece.

On the mound, Kyle Ramon collected the victory as he worked eight innings and allowed two earned runs on 11 hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Shawn Brody pitched the ninth inning and gave up one hit while striking out one.

Ely Gordon was tagged with the loss for Ozarks as he lasted six innings and gave up five runs — one earned — on eight hits with two strikeouts.

Zach Walker, Adam Winter, Gabriel Rodriguez and Patrick Clifford recorded two hits apiece to pace the Eagles offense.

Trailing 2-0 after two innings, the Yellow Jackets scratched across single runs in the fourth and fifth to pull even.

In the fourth, Dohrman was hit by pitch with one out and advanced to second on a balk. An RBI single to right field by Rodriguez scored Dohrman to put HPU on the board.

The fifth-inning run was the result of Garrett reaching on a fielder’s choice, which resulted in the second out, then stealing second base ahead of an error that allowed Will Roberts to extend the inning and the tying run to score.

Howard Payne surged ahead, 5-2, in the top of the sixth inning behind a three-run outburst.

Rodriguez reached on a one-out single to shortstop and Lunceford followed with a single up the middle. Smith then reached on a fielder’s choice, which was coupled with an error that allowed Blake Laney — running for Rodriguez — to score the go-ahead run. Payne followed with a two-RBI double to center field that scored Lunceford and Smith and stretched the lead to three runs.

The Yellow Jackets seized firm control of the contest with three more runs in the top of the seventh.

Daniel reached on a one-out error, Dohrman doubled to left-center and Laney was intentionally walked to load bases. An RBI sacrifice fly by Lunceford scored Daniel then Cain delivered a two-RBI double to right field that plated Laney and Dohrman.

Howard Payne returns to Don Shepard Park April 1-2 to host ASC rival Sul Ross in a three-game series.