Photo by Nathan Kelly
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma City University completed the four-game sweep of Lubbock Christian (Texas) with 1-0 and 7-3 victories Saturday at Jim Wade Stadium in a series matching top five-ranked teams in NAIA baseball.
Chase Jensen drove in the only run of the first contest, then the Stars struck for seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the second game. Second-ranked OCU improved to 37-8, 17-3 in the Sooner Athletic Conference, while fifth-rated Lubbock Christian went to 31-13, 12-8 in the SAC.
The Stars opened a three-game lead in the league standings on second-place Rogers State and a five-game advantage on Lubbock Christian.
In the first game, Jensen nailed an RBI single into center field to bring home Kale Gaden from second base in the fourth inning. Jensen accounted for two game-winning RBIs in the series against Lubbock Christian after hitting a walk-off homer Friday in the first of the four-game set.
Lubbock Christian stranded two runners on in the sixth and the seventh. Brent Leslie reached on a hit by pitch, then Brandon Wilson had a base hit to put runners on first and second in the sixth. OCU starting pitcher Shane Henderson struck out Joel Lutz and Brennyn Smith, then Davis Henderson came on to fan Marshall Williams.
Tanner Rainey and Christian Vasquez had back-to-back two-out hits in the seventh. Davis Henderson snuffed out the rally by retiring Leslie on a fly ball to left.
Shane and Davis Henderson combined to hold Lubbock Christian to 0-for-12 hitting with runners in scoring position. Shane Henderson, a junior right-hander from Flower Mound, Texas, threw 5.2 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out seven. Shane Henderson improved to 3-0 on the year. Davis Henderson, a senior righty from Spring, Texas, struck out three in 1.1 innings to collect his sixth save of 2013.
Jensen, a senior from Arlington, Texas, went 1-for-2 with an RBI, while Sigado, a senior from Salem, Ore., was 1-for-2. Cody Ferrell and Chris Wallis each went 1-for-3.
In the next game, Vazquez and Williams had run-scoring singles to put Lubbock Christian ahead 2-0 through the top of the sixth.
In the bottom of the inning, Jonathan Sigado touched off a two-out OCU uprising with a two-run single to left. Gaden put the Stars ahead 3-2 with an RBI base hit to the right side.
Jensen reached home plate on a passed ball, then Dalton Bernardi belted an RBI double along the left-field foul line. Forrest Smith and Jonathan Rodriguez drew bases-loaded walks for OCU.
Sigado went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, and Rodriguez, a junior from Anaheim, Calif., was 1-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI. Bernardi, a junior from Choctaw, Okla., and Gaden, a senior from Stillwater, Okla., each were 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
Patrick Goelz notched the victory by getting two strikeouts in the sixth. Goelz, a senior right-hander from Palm Bay, Fla., went to 4-1. Ryan Gibson started the game, working 5.1 innings with five strikeouts. Davis Henderson finished on the mound, striking out two in the seventh.
OCU faces Wayland Baptist (Texas) in a pair of games starting 3 p.m. April 19 in Plainview, Texas.