McMurry University earned a split with the NCAA Division II South Central Region’s No. 7-ranked team – Angelo State University – winning the first game, 3-2, before seeing its rally come up short in the nightcap, 6-4, in the non-league doubleheader.
In Game One, McMurry drew first blood with an unearned run in the first innings. With two out, Zack Hagan drew a walk and went to second when Greg Koll was safe on an error by the Rams’ shortstop. AJ Dupre (1-for-4 on the day) then slapped a single to center that drove home Hagan and extended his personal hit streak to five games.
ASU tied it at 1-1 with an unearned run of its own in the bottom of the second, before McM added single runs in the fourth and sixth frames. In the fourth, Preuss slapped a single, with Jeremy Ruiz at the plate, ASU pitcher Mike Gully overthrew first on a pickoff attempt, allowing Preuss to advance to third. Ruiz was hit by the pitch to put runners on the corners. Blake Smith’s single to center plated Preuss to make it 2-1.
In the sixth, Eric Moritz led off with a double and then went to third as Preuss followed with a single to left. Ruiz was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Smith once again was clutch, slamming a single through the middle to score Moritz. Although the Rams got the final three outs without allowing any more runs, the War Hawks had added what would prove to be the deciding run, 3-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, Mitch Labbie came on to pitch for starter Trevor Ragsdale, who gave McM head coach John Byington another quality effort and improved is personal record to 2-1 on the year. Ragsdale threw 5.0 innings and allowed just one unearned run, along with three scattered hits. Ragsdale lowered his season earned run average to 0.35.
Labbie was greeted rudely by ASU, as the hosts’ first to players to face him got a single and double, eventually scoring a run to cut the deficit to 3-2 before the inning came to a close. In the bottom of the seventh, Labbie bore down and retired the Rams in order to pick up his second save of the season.
Smith had the hot bat for McM in Game One, going 3-for-3 from the plate and collecting two RBI. Preuss was 2-for-3 with a run scored in gaining his first multi-hit game of the season.
McMurry out-hit the Rams by a 9-5 margin.
Game Two was all Angelo State, at least until a seventh-inning rally by the War Hawks caused some discomfort among the ASU faithful.
The Rams led 1-0 heading into the fourth, when a Hagan leadoff single opened the inning. Hagan went to second on a ground out by Dupre and came home on a Ben Douglas RBI single, 1-1.
Angelo State responded with two in their half of the fourth, another pair in the fifth and a single run in the sixth to pull ahead, 6-1, going into the final inning.
But McMurry went down swinging…literally.
Moritz single to left off of ASU reliever Christian Summers. Preuss then dribbled an infield single for first and second runners. Ruiz then doubled to left to score Moritz and, when the ball was misplayed in the outfield, also allowed Preuss to cruise home to make it 6-3.
Kyle Sargent popped to short for the first out of the inning. That brought up pinch hitter Jeffers Rader, who slapped a double to right field and sent Ruiz home, 6-4. That brought the potential tying runs to the plate twice, but both Christian Simmons and Hagan struck out swinging.
Caleb Gonzales (1-2) absorbed the loss for McM. Gonzales worked 4.0 innings and gave up four runs, just one of which was earned. He struck out four Rams and walked just tone.
Moritz was 2-for-3 in Game Two as the only War Hawk with multiple hits. As a team, McM once again out-hit the Rams, 8-7.
Information for this story provided by McMurry Athletics.