The East Central University baseball team swept the first two games of the three-game series against Harding at Tiger Field in Great American conference action. The Tigers (10-9, 6-5 GAC) first picked up a 7-5 win in the nine inning game and then defeated the Bisons (11-5, 3-2 GAC) 8-6 in the seven inning game.
ECU was paced by junior Garrett Donohoe who hit .857 for the day. Donohoe hit for the cycle in the games, with two singles, two doubles, a triple and home run, while garnering six RBIs. The Lake Forest, Calif., native added six put outs and four assisted outs.
Junior Casey Chenoweth added a .571 average, with four hits including a double and home run. The duo helped the Tigers to a .371 average for the day, while Harding was held to a .313 mark.
Junior Icezack Flemming threw his fifth complete game of the season and added nine strikeouts to his nation leading 45. Flemming picked up the win in the second game, allowing nine hits and six runs.
Junior Oscar Gomez earned the win in game one, pitching the last 1.2 innings. Gomez tallied two K’s and allowed one hit. Junior Lucas Kaplan was on the mound for the first 6.1 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs.
The teams will finish the series, Saturday, March 8 at noon, with a nine inning game scheduled to take place at Tiger Field.
Game 1 – ECU 7, Harding 5
The Tigers scored the first run in the bottom of the third for a 1-0 lead. Donohoe earned his first multi-base hit for the day, with a solo home run to left field.
The Bisons responded in the top of the fourth, with two runs for a 1-2 advantage.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the sixth when ECU scored two for a 3-2 advantage. Donohoe started the inning with a double to left field and was stranded on base while the next two batters were sent back to the dugout. Junior Luc Pomales kept things going for the Tigers, with a double to left that scored the first run. Senior Ethan Gold added a single to left center for the second.
Harding kept fighting and tied the game with a single run in the top of the seventh and took a 3-4 lead with a run in the top of the eighth.
Donohoe then started the Tigers again in the bottom of the eighth with a triple to center field. He crossed the plate when the Bisons threw a wild pitch. Junior David Terrazas hit a one-out single up the middle and was sent to second when Gold singled through the left side. Chenoweth then hit the game-winning three-run home run to left center for a 7-4 lead.
Harding tried to make a come-back in the top of the ninth, but was only able to garner one run for the 7-5 final.
Game 2 – ECU 8, Harding 6
The Bisons came out ready to fight in game two, scoring two runs in the top of the second.
The Tigers fought back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second. Chenoweth hit a one-out single and was joined on base by junior Andrew Ayrado who reached due to catcher’s interference. The bases were then loaded when junior Dustin Torres singled. The second out was recorded, which brought Donohoe up to bat and he delivered with a double to left center to score the two runs.
Harding regained the lead with a two runs in both the third and fourth innings for a 2-6 lead.
ECU went to work in the bottom of the fourth, with three runs to cut the deficit to 5-6. Ayrado drew a walk and was advanced to third when junior Ty Huie doubled to left. Donohoe scored the first two runs with a single up the middle and the final run was added on a single by junior David Terrazas to left center.
The Tigers tied the game at six in the bottom of the fifth. After the first two outs, Huie drew a walk and was sent to third on a single by senior Josh Lavender through the right side. Donohoe again earned the RBI with a single up the middle.
ECU earned the win in the bottom of the sixth innings, with two runs. Gold hit a two-out double to center field and was the winning runner to cross the plate when Chenoweth doubled to center. Ayrado added the final RBI with a single to center for the 8-6 lead.
The Bisons got their first batter on base with a single in the top of the seventh, but the side was then struck out by Flemming.