CLEBURNE, Texas - With a spot in the SCAC Championship Game on the line, the Southwestern University baseball team dropped a heartbreaker to the No. 3 seeded Texas Lutheran Bulldogs by the score of 3-2 on Saturday afternoon at The Depot.
With the loss, Southwestern moves into an elimination game tonight against the winner of Trinity and Centenary at 8:30 with a spot in the SCAC Championship Game on the line.
The Bulldogs took the early lead in the first, taking advantage of three walks in the inning and getting a pair of runs for the 2-0 lead. The Bulldogs would chase started Jacob Frankel after one inning of work, bringing in sophomore Aaron Clark out of the pen.
Clark went on to pitch a phenomenal game, pitching 7.2 innings and allowing one run on four hits to go with three strikeouts.
Southwestern took advantage of a slow start by SCAC Pitcher of the Year Nathan Malinovsky as the Pirates took advantage of a pair of walks, as well as a single, to load the bases with two down. Freshman Seth Sparks drew the third straight walk and cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Pirates would get numerous opportunities in the contest as they would get the tying run in scoring position, but could not even the game. Finally in the eighth, the SU offense was able to chase Malinovsky with two down and two on.
Senior Jason McCormack stepped to the plate and looped a RBI double down the left field line, scoring one, and tying the game at 2-2.
However, Texas Lutheran loaded the bases with two down in the ninth as Spencer Brandt put together a masterful 11 pitch at bat, eventually forcing the walk off walk to give the Bulldogs the 3-2 victory and send them into Championship Sunday.
Dylan Murrell (W, 1-0) got the win for TLU while Clark (L, 2-2), despite a great effort, was saddeld with the loss.
Southwestern out hit the Bulldogs 7-6 with McCormack leading the way, going 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Senior Ethan Hallmark was 1-for-4 with a run scored while Sparks, senior Riley Waylandm and junior Cole Kelly all came away with a hit.
The Pirates move to 18-23 overall and will prepare for the Tigers or Gents later this evening at The Depot.