LONGVIEW, Texas – Starting off the conference season in chilly weather, the East Texas Baptist University baseball grinded out a solid 5-2 win over LeTourneau. ETBU not only equaled their overall record at 4-4, but they also managed to win their first conference game to start ASC play 1-0.
ETBU had a strong outing from Ashley Dukes who went 8.1 innings allowing two runs on six hits while striking out nine batters. Logan Sprinkle came in relief to pick up the final two outs for his first save of the season. Offensively, the Tigers were led by Zach Gartner, who had three hits and two RBI, including a solo home run. Brice Winter also had two RBI while Conner Combs and Jaxon Rader each had two hits. LETU was led by Gonzalo Sosa, who had two hits and scored both Yellow Jacket runs. Starting pitcher Jordan Carns (0-3) earned the loss going seven innings allowing four runs on nine hits and four strikeouts.
Although the first three innings were scoreless, ETBU did threaten to score twice. The Tigers had the first two men on base on singles in the first before a double play and strikeout ended the rally. In the third, a Dylan Sumpter double was all for not when the next two hitters grounded out to end the inning. Finally in the fourth, Gartner broke the ice with a triple to right scoring Zach Compton. Winter then drove him in with a sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0. The Yellow Jackets would score a run in the bottom of the fourth when two singles and an error prevented a shutout. However, with two runners in scoring position, Dukes bore down and retired the next two hitters to end the inning.
In the fifth, Garrett Lakey walked and later scored on a single by Rader to make it 3-1. One inning later, Winter surprised the Yellow Jackets with a suicide squeeze play scoring Gartner and it was 4-1. LETU did answer with a fielder’s choice groundout to cut the lead to 4-2. LETU did threaten in the seventh placing two runners in scoring position before Dukes recorded another big strikeout to end the frame.
Gartner would add a home run in the eighth for insurance purposes to make it 5-2. LETU would make one last rally in the ninth when they loaded the bases with one out. That was when Sprinkle came and got the final two batters on a fly out and a fielder’s choice to secure the win.
ETBU will play LETU in a doubleheader tomorrow with game one’s seven inning affair starting at 1:00 PM while the second game will start at 4:00 PM.