LUBBOCK, Texas - McMurry University's baseball team dropped the rubber game of a three-game series versus NAIA No. 16 Lubbock Christian University, 12-2, in seven-innings on Saturday at Hays Field. After pounding the Chaps (11-4) in the opening game of the series by an 11-2 score, the War Hawks (6-8) dropped the final two games of the set. McMurry starter Jared Hopper looked fine in three of his first four innings of work, setting LCU down in order in the first, third and fourth. However, the second inning proved to be his downfall, as the Chaps jumped all over Hopper. In the frame, LCU pasted a five-spot on the board before the War Hawks even recorded a single out. Hoper gave up a leadoff single, hit the second batter and then surrendered a two-run single for the first tallies of the game. LCU's Kevin Damrzalski then blasted a three-run homer to right field to break the game open, 5-0. After being set down in order the first three innings, McM showed its first signs of offensive life in the fourth. With one out, left fielder Zack Hagan single through the left side and moved over to second on a ground out. With two down, designated hitter Jon Mejia laced an RBI single through the ride side of the infield to plate Hagan. Cody Howard flew out to left to end the inning, 5-1. The War Hawks chipped away at the deficit a bit more in the fifth with another run to make it 5-2. Jeremy Ruiz drew a leadoff walk. With one out, Eric Preuss was hit by a pitch, advancing Ruiz to second. Both runners moved up 90 feet on Ricky Garcia's ground out to short. Moritz then followed with an infield single that scored Ruiz from third. If the McM squad entertained any hopes of a comeback bid versus the nationally-ranked Chaps, it took a severe blow in the bottom of the fifth when LCU again got to Hopper for three more runs (on three hits) before the inning was over, to make it 8-2. The War Hawks squandered an opportunity in the top of the sixth. With two out, Howard and Ruiz had back-to-back singles. AJ Dupre drew a walk to load the bases, but Preuss struck out swinging to end the uprising. The Chaps added three more in the bottom of the sixth off of McM reliever Caleb Gonzales to make it 11-2. Then in the bottom of the seventh, Gonzales walked the first batter and gave up a double to put runners on second and third. That prompted McM head coach John Byington to bring in closer Charlie Hejny. But Hejny was greeted with a single by LCU's Brent Leslie that pushed across the 12th run of the game and halted the contest by the 10-run "mercy rule", 12-2. Hopper absorbed the loss for McMurry, falling to 0-2 on the year. Hopper was charged with eight runs – all earned – in his five innings of work. He had four strikeouts and no walks, but did hit one batter and deliver one wild pitch. Gonzales was charged with the remaining four earned runs. McM's batters managed just five singles on the afternoon. No War Hawk player had more than one hit in the game. McMurry will return to its Heartland Conference slate of foes this coming weekend with a three-game series at home versus Texas A&M-International University. The series begins with a Friday (March 1) doubleheader at 3 p.m. and concludes with a single game on Saturday (March 2) at 1 p.m. at Walt Driggers Field.
Information provided by McMurry Athletics Dept.