ABILENE, Texas — Hardin-Simmons' baseball team split an American Southwest Conference doubleheader with Howard Payne on Saturday afternoon at Hunter Field, winning the first game 8-3 and falling 4-3 in the nightcap.
The Cowboys exploded for eight runs in the first two innings of the first game, but from the on HSU's bats were silenced by Howard Payne's pitching.
Taylor Berlin had an RBI ground out and Brian Weeks scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0 in the first. HSU scored six times in the second. Joey Dearing had an RBI double, Jon Finney had an RBI on sac bunt that turned into an error, Jay Hiller had an RBI single, Berlin and Tarrant also added RBi singles in the second as HSU scored six runs on seven hits.
Howard Payne turned a double play to get out of the inning behind reliever Kevin Young and Young was perfect the rest of the way.
Blake Sieck was dominant for the Cowboys as he did not allow a run until the top of the seventh. He was an out away from a complete-game shutout, before Howard Payne scored three times. Tyler Brunnemann recorded the final out for HSU. Sieck is now 4-0 and Gilbert Barrera, who allowed seven runs in an inning and one-third took the loss to fall to 2-4.
Berlin led the Cowboys with two hits in the game and Sam Dollahite had two for Howard Payne.
In the second game, Howard Payne starter Billy Ray Cruz (4-4) kept the Cowboys off balance throughout the game. He went eight innings allowing just three runs on six hits to earn the win. Robert Anders worked the ninth for his first save.
Kyle D'Alessio (2-1) worked into the seventh for the Cowboys and he allowed just three earned runs on five hits. Brunnemann did not allow a run in three innings of work out of the bullpen.
HPU scored a run in the first inning on an RBI double by Jordan Hammontree. Carlton Brown and Taylor Zambreski had RBI singles in the fourth to make it 3-0. HSU cut it to 3-1 with a run in the fifth. Dearing had a double to lead off the inning and later scored on a LeJuan Edwards sacrifice fly.
In the seventh, Brown reached on a single and Dustin Cole reached first on a throwing error by D'Alession on a bunt attempt. Will Garlick then bunted on the first pitch from Brunnemann and the ball crawled right along the line and stayed fair to load the bases. Brunnemann then got a strikeout of Ryan Klose, but a wild pitch allowed a run to score. He then got of the jam.
HSU scored twice in the eighth when Troy Nicholson had a pinch-hit RBI double and he came in to score on a Jay Hiller RBI single. HSU mounted a rally in the ninth, but Anders kept the Cowboys off the board. Berlin had a leadoff single and Austin Cantwell pinch ran for him. Cantwell moved up on a wild pitch. However, Troy Tarrant struck out, Andrew Rehling grounded out to short moving Cantwell to third and Chris Matthews flew out to center to end the game.
Berlin had three of the Cowboys seven hits. Brown and Hammontree had two each for Howard Payne.
HSU is now 22-7 on the year and maintained its one-game lead in the ASC West with a 9-3 mark. Howard Payne is now 9-15 overall and 5-7 in ASC West play.
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