Sports
LeTourneau baseball splits pair with Austin College
By Matt Kinney, Sports Information Director - LeTourneau University
Mar 7, 2018
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LONGVIEW, Texas - After pounding out 16 hits in an 11-7 win, the LeTourneau University baseball team would be limited to just six hits total in a 6-4 loss to split a non-conference home doubleheader against Austin College at Conrad-Vernon Field on Tuesday, March 6.

With the split, LETU improves to 8-6 overall while the Kangaroos run their record to 3-3 overall.

Game 1
The YellowJackets would have to come from behind in the twin bill opener, falling behind by a score of 2-1 after three innings of play after AC would score two runs on three hits. LeTourneau would respond in the bottom of the third with back-to-back one out singles from Eli Birriel and Lee Hosie before a Noah Mahoney two-out RBI single would cut the 'Roo lead in half heading to the top of the fourth.

Austin College would put their first two runners of the fourth inning aboard before a sacrifice bunt and hit-by-pitch would load the bases with one out before an inning-ending double play managed to get LETU out of the inning without any damage done. The YellowJackets then would take advantage of two Austin College errors and leadoff single to load the bases before a Will Bradshaw triple cleared the bases to put LETU up by a score of 4-2. Bradshaw eventually came around to score on a wild pitch, making the score 5-2 following the three-run inning.

Austin College responded with a three-run top of the fifth inning, utilizing a bunt single and walk before a double scored two of the three runs to force a pitching change for the YellowJackets. LeTourneau would see a wild pitch allow for a 'Roo runner to move to third before scoring on an RBI groundout, tying the game at 5-5. Not to be outdone, LETU scored three more runs on three hits in their end of the fifth, with two more errors by AC allowing for two of the three runs to come across and allow LeTourneau to reclaim an 8-5 lead.

The 'Roos would add single runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but see LETU put up three more runs on a Bradshaw home run to put the game out of reach and secure the win.

Junior Nate Hoelker earned his first victory of the year, coming on in relief of Haden Simmons who would pitch the first four innings and allow five runs on seven hits while striking out two. Hoelker tossed two innings while allowing two runs on three hits before Kolbey Sharpe finished off the game with one inning of work, pitching a hitless outing.

Bradshaw would collect both extra-base hits in the game for LETU, finishing two-for-three with six RBI's while Hosie had two of the other three RBI's for the YellowJackets. A total of six LeTourneau players would record multiple hits in the win, with Birriel and Hosie both collecting three hits each.

Game 2
A quicker start to game two for LeTourneau would not prove to be a good thing as all four YellowJacket runs would come in the first two innings of play on only two hits. After seeing Austin College put their first two runners on in the top of the first, LETU would get out of the jam by seeing the 'Roos ground into a double play. LeTourneau would then use a one-out double and AC error to put two runners on with one out before a Carson Dickey fielder's choice put runners on the corners with two outs. Bradshaw picked up where he left off in game one, collecting two more RBI's with a two-out double to the right center field wall to put LETU up 2-0 after one inning of play after not seeing the YellowJackets score their second run of game one until the fourth inning.

The second inning of play would be similar to the first as Austin College once again put their first two runners of the inning aboard before LeTourneau would get the next three batters to be retired with a pop out, fielder's choice, and strikeout to end the inning. Weston McKinley would lead off the bottom of the second by drawing a walk, bringing up center fielder Jacob Jones who would launch the second pitch he saw over the left field wall for a two run home run as the YellowJackets would take a 4-0 lead after two innings.

Following a scoreless third, Austin College would get one run back in the top of the fourth on a single hit, and then break the game open with four runs in the top of the fifth, with the four runs coming on just two hits to go along with three walks, one hit batter, and one error.

LeTourneau would appear to have a chance at tying the game in the bottom of the fifth, with Birriel collecting a leadoff single before stealing second and third followed by a Valdez one-out walk. A Dickey strikeout put two outs on the board before Austin College would make a pitching change, which would prove to be effective as a strikeout would strand both runners.

The 'Roos would go down in order in the top of the sixth, but manage to keep LeTourneau off the scoreboard as a leadoff single by Brandon Ramirez would be wiped out by a fielder's choice for Mahoney with Ramirez being thrown out at home trying to tie the game at 5-5. Austin College managed to add an insurance run in the top of the seventh, taking advantage of a leadoff walk followed by a single and pair of passed balls, making the score 6-4 as the YellowJackets would need two runs to extend the game. A chance to force extra-innings never would present itself however, as LETU would go down in order to end the game.

A total of five pitchers would be used by LeTourneau in the game, with Gonzalo Sosa getting the start and throwing 3.2 innings of work while allowing just one run on four hits and striking out four. Sharpe would make his second appearance of the day, throwing 0.2 innings and allowing three runs (one earned) on one hit before making way for David Herrington who would take the loss. Herrington lasted just one-third of an inning, allowing one run on one hit while Sam Kriebel (0.0 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits) and Bubba Valdez (2.1 innings, 1 run, 1 hit) also appeared in the game.

Jones would be LeTourneau's only player in the game to collect two hits, with Hosie and Bradshaw managing to hit the extra-base hits for the YellowJackets. Jones and Bradshaw would each drive in two runs.

The American Southwest Conference home opening series for LETU will take place on Friday, March 9th when the YellowJackets host McMurry University in game one of a three-game series at 6:00 p.m.