|Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography|
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Copyright 2015 TexSport Publications
SUGAR LAND, TEXAS (May 23, 2015) With a stunning six-run eighth inning, the Houston Baptist UniversityHuskies defeated the Sam Houston State University Bearkats by the score of 6-0 to win the 2015 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas. With the win, the Huskies advance to the NCAA regional tournament.
The game remained scoreless until the eighth inning, when HBU erupted for six runs on six hits to secure the win. Starting pitcher Curtis Jones went the distance for the Huskies, facing 35 batters, and giving up 10 hits, while striking out 7 and walking a single batter. He threw 111 pitches and finished the game with a 3.62 ERA; raising his record to 6-6 heading into the regionals. For his effort, Jones was selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
The Huskies batted through their lineup in the eighth inning, scoring their six runs with two outs on the scoreboard. They lead off the inning with two out before catcher Samm Wiggins drew a walk and first baseman Andrew Alvarez singled. The Bearkats pulled starting pitcher Greg Belton, who threw 7.2 innings, giving up seven hits. Belton was replaced with right-hander Jordan Church who promptly gave up four hits that scored five runs. He was pulled after facing four batters and replaced by Alex Bisacca. The right-hander walked a batter before giving up double and a run. He closed out the Huskies with a strikeout, but by then the damage was done.
HBU tallied 12 hits in route to their six runs, all of them earned. Alvarez was 2-of-4 with a single run and two RBI while right fielder Thomas Clay went 2-of-3 with a run. Left fielder Brandon Morones secured two hits and a one RBI.
In addition to Jones, the Huskies placed three on the All-Tournament Team. Second baseman Greg Espinoza, right fielder Clay Thomas and Alvarez joined Jones on the elite squad. Tournament runner-up Sam Houston State placed designated hitter Jake MacWilliam, outfielders Hayden Simery and Bryce Johnson, along with left-handed pitcher Andrew Godail on the squad.
This will be the first time in school history the Huskies have made it to the NCAA post-season. In 2007, they advance to the NAIA World Series, finishing in third place.