UAFS bounced back from a hard-luck loss to Oklahoma Christian in the opening game of Sunday’s Heartland Conference baseball doubleheader to win the second game and the series at Dobson Field in Oklahoma City.
The Lions lost the doubleheader opener 1-0 but one the second game 6-3. UAFS won the series 2-1 after winning Saturday’s opening game 3-0.
UAFS (25-16, 13-5) is now tied for second with St. Mary’s (20-20, 13-5) in the conference with two league series remaining — a three-game series against conference leader Lubbock Christian on Friday and Saturday at Crowder Field and a three-game series against St. Mary’s on May 5-6 in San Antonio.
Oklahoma Christian needed a run in the bottom of the seventh to win the opening game of the Sunday’s doubleheader.
UAFS starter Tyler Nelson walked center fielder Chad Kennedy and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Zac Bycko. Nelson intentionally walked first baseman Kolten Brown and walked pinch hitter Luke Reynolds to load the bases.
Reliever Nick Yoning replaced Nelson, and shortstop Garrett Wages reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed Kennedy to score the game-winning run.
Nelson (5-5) suffered the loss, allowing one run on three hits with four walks and six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. Wages was 1 for 3 with one RBI to lead the Eagles, while Brown was 1 for 2 with a double and left fielder Hayden Strobel was 1 for 3.
UAFS had five hits off Oklahoma Christian starter Mason McAlister, but the Lions left eight runners on base. McAlister (4-3) earned the complete-game win, allowing five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Second baseman Brennan Dooly was 2 for 3, Yoning and third baseman Brandan Warner were 1 for 3 and shortstop Drew Duncan was 1 for 4.
UAFS used one big inning to rally from one-run deficit and win the second game. Catcher Jordany Santiago crushed a grand slam in the seventh inning as the Lions turned a one run-deficit into a three-run lead.
Santiago was one of three Lions to have multiple hits, finishing 2 for 4 with five RBIs. Duncan was 2 for 4 and Dooly was 2 for 4. Yoning was 1 for 4 with one RBI.
Eagles reliever Matthew Fusselman (1-2) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on two hits with one walk over just 2/3 inning. Eagles starter Gabe Rodery allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and one strikeout over 5 2/3 innings, and reliever Garett Hill allowed one run on two hits with three strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings.
Oklahoma Christian collected six hits. Lions reliever Clayton Whelchel, who was the fourth of five UAFS pitchers, earned the win, allowing no runs on no hits with two walks and two strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings.
Wages was 2 for 4, third baseman Jake Collins was 1 for 4 with two RBIs and first baseman Kolten Brown was 1 for 4 with a home run and one RBI.