Facing American Southwest Conference rival Mary Hardin-Baylor in a non-conference action Tuesday afternoon, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets collected a 4-3 walk-off victory at Don Shepard Park.
Tied at 3 in the bottom of the ninth, the Yellow Jackets (18-12, 6-9) received a leadoff triple by Jay Holland. After Benjamin Lewis was hit by a pitch, Hunter Bazan was then intentionally walked. With the sacks full, no outs and David Groves at the plate, a wild pitch allowed Holland to race home with the winning run.
Howard Payne grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first as three consecutive one-out singles by Noah Payne, Holland and Lewis filled the sacks. Payne scored the first run on a balk, while a wild pitch allowed Holland to cross the plate.
Mary Hardin-Baylor (9-20, 5-10) closed the gap to 2-1 in the third as Max Conway singled home Dakota Best, who reached on a one-out double. UMHB then drew even at 2 in the top of the fifth as Best again doubled and later came home on Conway’s RBI sac fly.
The Yellow Jackets immediately regained a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second as Payne, who led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, eventually came home on a yet another UMHB wild pitch — one of four in the game.
UMHB again knotted the score at 3 in the seventh when the Crusaders returned the favor as Mitch Patterson scored on a wild pitch.
Howard Payne finished with eight hits — two each by Payne and Holland and one apiece from Lewis, JW Ledbetter, Kassidy Ramon and Cliff Lunceford.
Seven Yellow Jacket pitchers saw action, with Evan Rodriguez notching the win as he allowed a hit with one hit batter while pitching the ninth.
Howard Payne visits ASC co-leader Concordia (20-10, 13-5) for three conference games over the weekend — a 7 p.m. Friday encounter and a 1 p.m. Saturday doubleheader.