The East Central University baseball team earned the Great American Conference series win over Henderson State when it split the double-header in the final day of the series. The Tigers (5-8, 2-4 GAC) first fell 6-7 and then took a 6-2 win at Tiger Field.
ECU was led by senior Ethan Gold, who hit .571 on the day, with four hits, one run scored and two RBIs. Junior Nick Spini also hit .571 for the day, with four hits and two runs scored.
Junior Icezack Flemming continued his strong pitching in game two of the double-header, earning the win in the complete game. Flemming struck out nine batters to push his season total to a league-leading 41. Flemming allowed just four hits and two runs (one earned), for a 1.29 ERA for the day.
Junior Oscar Gomez got the start in the first game of the day, pitching the first five innings and recording four strike outs, with no decision. Senior Robert Buitrago suffered the loss in 2.1 innings of work.
The Tigers remain at home at the start of next week for a non-conference game against Hillsdale Freewill Baptist, Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m.
Game 2 – ECU 6, HSU 2
ECU started the second game strong, scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning. After two outs junior Garrett Donohoe drew a walk and was advanced to third on a double by Spini to right center. Junior Luc Pomales loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch. Junior David Terrazas earned the RBI when he drew the walk.
The Tigers added a second run in the bottom of the second. Junior Andrew Ayrado was hit by a pitch, stole second and was sent to third on a pass ball. He was joined on base when junior Casey Chenoweth walked and the run was scored when senior Josh Lavender reached on an errant throw by the pitcher.
ECU made it 3-0 in the bottom of the third with singles from Spini and Terrazas and a sacrifice bunt by Pomales.
The lead grew to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth. Donohoe started the inning with a walk and was advanced to second on a single by Spini to left field. Donohoe was sent home on a single up the middle by Pomales.
The Tigers scored their final runs of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Ayrado reached on a single up the middle and was sent home when senior Michael Mariano hit a home run to left field as a pinch runner.
The Reddies (3-11, 3-3 GAC) eliminated the chance of a shutout in the top of the sixth with two runs for the 6-2 final.
Game 1 – HSU 7, ECU 6
HSU jumped out to an early 0-2 lead in the top of the first and held the lead until the third inning.
The Tigers took a quick 3-2 advantage in the bottom of the third. Gold singled and junior Bryce McKee doubled to put two runners on base for Lavender, who hit a home run over the left center fence.
The lead was short lived, as the Reddies scored two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth for a 5-3 lead.
ECU tied the game at five in the bottom of the seventh. Runners were at second and third after a walk by Spini, a hit by pitch for Pomales and a sacrifice bunt by Terrazas. That allowed Gold to earn two RBIs with a single to right field.
HSU came right back in the top of the eight, with two runs for a 5-7 lead.
The Tigers responded with a run in the bottom of the eighth. Chenoweth started the inning by reaching when he was hit by a pitch. Junior Ty Huie advanced him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Chenoweth advanced to third on a pass ball and scored when Lavender grounded out to second base.
The Reddies had a chance to score again in the ninth inning, with the bases loaded. However, the Tigers struck out the final batter of the inning. ECU then got one runner on base in the bottom of the ninth, but were unable to score and fell 6-7.