Wildcats break Mustangs to win key road series

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HOBBS, N.M. – The Louisiana Christian University baseball team slowly pulled away from Southwest in the rubber game of the series, and then Ty Morgan delivered the final blow with a two-run home run that ensured the Wildcats would take the series over the Mustangs with a 7-2 win Saturday at Jake Williams Field.

The Wildcats got the offense going immediately as Adrian Aguilar opened the game with a base hit to center. Two batters later, Keelyn Johnson found the right-center gap for a double that allowed Aguilar to come all the way around from first to score and give LCU the early lead. That lead would not last long however as USW tied the game back up at 1-1 in the bottom half of the inning.

LCU got the lead right back in the second inning. Dylan David led off the frame with a base hit and was sacrificed over to second base. A base hit by Adrian Aguilar and catcher’s interference loaded the bases for Keelyn Johnson and Johnson came through with a liner to left deep enough to score David from third to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.

Adrian Aguilar got a one-out rally going in the fourth with a base hit to center. He moved to second on a single to left by Nicklaus Stein and third on another ball into center by Keelyn Johnson. Ju’Juan Franklin drove Aguilar home with a double over the left fielder’s head to make it 3-1 LCU.

The lead drew more in the sixth as Ty Morgan led off the frame with a double to left. Dru Scully, Morgan’s courtesy runner, was sacrificed to third by Adrian Aguilar and then Nicklaus Stein did the job as his ground ball to shortstop allowed Scully to come home to add another tally to the scoreboard. USW would get that run back in the bottom half of the inning to make it 4-2 Wildcats heading to the seventh inning.

A two-out rally in the seventh gave the Wildcats the runs needed to pull away. With two away, Dylan David beat out an infield base hit to set up Ty Morgan, and Morgan delivered with the two-run blast to left that put the Wildcats up 6-2. The Wildcats added an insurance run in the eighth as Keelyn Johnson and Ju’Juan Franklin were both hit by pitch to open the frame. They both moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Alex Ashby, and then Haydon Helms added the run with a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Johnson for the game’s final run.

Adrian Aguilar led the offense, going three-of-four at the plate with two runs scored. Ty Morgan went two-for-three with his third home run of the season, a double, drew a walk, drove in two runs, and scored once. Keelyn Johnson went two-for-three with a double, two RBI, and a run scored. Ju’Juan Franklin went two-for-three with a double, a walk, and a RBI. Dylan David went two-for-four with a walk, a stolen base, and scored twice.

A day after picking up his fourth save of the season, Colten Newsom (2-1) went 5.2 innings and gave up eight hits and two runs, both earned, walked one and struck out one to get a win. Chase Gardner went 1.1 innings and gave up one hit and no runs with one walk and one strikeout. Branon Pope finished out the final two innings and didn’t give up a hit, run, or walk while striking out two.

The Wildcats (21-10, 14-7 RRAC) look to build off this key series win back home next weekend when Houston-Victoria comes to town for a three-game conference set. First pitch of Friday’s doubleheader against the Jaguars (18-14, 13-8 RRAC) is set for 4:00 P.M. at Billy Allgood Field at Legacy Stadium.

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