Senior right-hander Chasen Bennett pitched a seven-inning gem in the opener while Lucas Armenta tripled twice and doubled once in the nightcap as the East Central University Tigers rolled to a 5-1, 12-5 Lone Star Conference doubleheader sweep of the University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos Friday at Tiger Field.
Bennett (2-0) allowed just four hits, walked three and struck out four as UCO’s only run was unearned in the second inning of the first game.
Then Armenta went 3-for-5 with a triple to lead off the bottom half of the first, two-run triple in the fourth to tie the game at 3-all and an RBI double during a seven-run seventh inning.
The sweep improved the Tigers to 6-7 overall and 5-5 in the LSC while the Bronchos fell to 6-9 and 3-7.
ECU 5, UCO 1 (Game 1)
The Tigers broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run, four-hit fourth inning with the help of a UCO error.
Clint Bowker’s two-run double broke the deadlock, Armenta reached on a fielder’s choice while picking up an RBI and Tyler Gillum added an RBI double to make it 5-1 in the fourth.
Armenta lifted ECU to an early 1-0 advantage when he beat out a leadoff slow roller down the third base line for a single, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout before Dusty Rowland’s RBI groundout brought him home.
The Bronchos countered with an unearned run in the second inning off Wade Gordy’s sacrifice fly.
Tyler Pybas went 3-for-3 with a double and scored a run to lead the ECU offense while Bowker and Andrew Minnich each went 2-for-3.
Brian Murphy took the loss for UCO as he pitched six complete innings while allowing all five runs (four earned) off 10 hits with one walk and a pair of strikeouts.
Blake Mitchell had half of the Bronchos’ four hits as he went 2-for-3 from the plate.
ECU 12, UCO 5 (Game 2)
Only two of the 12 runs scored by the Tigers were earned as the Bronchos committed six errors in the contest. Each team finished with 11 hits.
ECU did produce big offensively at the same time. Besides Armenta’s three extra-base hits, Zach Hammons was 3-for-5 with two scored runs while Pybas went 2-for-5 with a two-run double in the seventh.
Armenta’s first-inning triple led to the Tigers’ first run as he scored off Rowland’s sacrifice fly to right, making it 1-0.
The Bronchos snatched a 3-1 lead after a two-run single by Andrew Foshee in the second inning and a Brent Hodge RBI groundout in the third.
ECU, with the help of two UCO errors in the fourth, took the lead for good at 5-3. Hammons’ leadoff single triggered the uprising and Armenta hit his second triple past the diving centerfielder Mitchell to bring home two runs.
The seven-run seventh was highlighted by a run-scoring single from Ryan Estes, Pybas’ two-run double and Armenta’s RBI double as the Tigers eventually went up 12-3.
Senior right-hander Randell Shrouder (1-2) went the nine-inning distance and got the win for the Tigers as he allowed only three earned runs, walked four and struck out seven.
UCO starter Kale Murphree (1-1) was charged with the loss after lasting 4 2/3 innings. He allowed five runs (but only one was earned) off seven hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts. Three others saw mound duty for the Bronchos.
Andrew Foshee’s 3-for-4 hitting effort with two runs batted in led the Bronchos while Mitchell and John Bryant added two hits apiece.
The two teams were scheduled to play a doubleheader Saturday at UCO, but the two games have been moved to Sunday, due to possible winter weather conditions on Saturday. Sunday's action is scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. start in Edmond to wrap up the four-game series.