The McMurry University baseball team (5-5) avoided a three-game sweep by defeating St. Edward's University (7-3), 8-6, in the third game of a three-game series on Saturday. McM collected a season-high, 15 hits in the contest to pull to .500 on the season.
McMurry jumped on the board early in the first inning as Eric Moritz led off the game with a single. Ricky Garcia then doubled down the left field line with no one out, but Moritz was thrown out at home trying to score. With Garcia on third, AJ Dupre brought him home with a sacrifice fly to make the score 1-0.
The War Hawks then extended the lead in the bottom of the second. After an Eric Preuss single, John Mejia continued to swing a hot bat as he double to the left-center field gap to score Preuss and push the lead to 2-0. Two batters later, Nick Marsh singled in Mejia to extend the lead to 3-0.
After the Hilltoppers cut the lead to 3-1 on a single by Joe Priozzolo in the top of the fourth, the War Hawks would extend the advantage again, this time in the bottom of the sixth.
After the first two batters made an out in the inning, Marsh and Moritz both reached base on back-to-back singles. Garcia then emptied the bases with a two-out double to left-center to extend the War Hawks' lead to 5-1.
In the top of the seventh inning, St. Edward's would respond, posting two runs on RBI singles by Marshall Buford and Beau Rodgers to make the score 5-3 in favor of McMurry.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the War Hawks would add some insurance runs, as the team would strike for three runs in the frame. After Nick Marsh singled and stole second base, a walk to Garcia and a hit by pitch drawn by Dupre loaded the bases. Adam Neubaur then tallied his second hit of the season as he singled through the right side of the infield, scoring Marsh and Garcia to extend the lead to 7-3.
With Dupre on third and one out, Dylan De Leon brought him home with a sacrifice fly to deep center to push the advantage to 8-3.
Back-to-back homeruns by the Hilltoppers in the top of the ninth cut the lead to 8-5 with no one out. St. Edward's would then score one more run in the inning, but could get no closer as Charlie Hejny closed the door to preserve the 8-6 victory for the War Hawks.
On the mound, the War Hawks received another quality start from its pitching staff as Aaron Burns went six full innings allowing just two earned. He also struck out six batters while allowing seven hits in the contest for his second win of the season.
Offensively, the nine, one and two hitters proved to be the catalyst for the offense as the trio of Moritz, Garcia and Marsh combined to go 9-for-12 at the plate with three RBIs. Mortiz collected four hits while Marsh totaled three hits and an RBI. Garcia finished with two hits and also drove in two in the contest.
McM will finish its' stretch of five games in four days when it plays host to cross-town foe, Abilene Christian, at Walt Driggers Field. The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.
Information provided by McMurry athletics department.