Lockhart powers Red team to victory in Red-White Series
The baseball team took to the field to play itself in the annual Red-White World Series on Thursday and Friday. Four months before the start of the regular season, the scrimmage is a way for the players to practice in game-like but controlled situations.
The two-game series saw the Red team prevail.
The Thursday night contest was dominated by pitchers. Junior starting pitcher Trey Cumbie appears to have kept the form that saw him named American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year last season. In four innings, Cumbie gave up only two hits while striking out seven batters and allowing no runs.
Cumbie was relieved by Brayson Hurdsman and D’Mond LaFond for the final two innings. They struck out three batters between them.
But the game ended in a scoreless draw because the pitching for the Red team was just as good. After starting only three games last year, sophomore Fred Villarreal is fighting to show he belongs in the starting rotation.
Villarreal also pitched four innings, giving up only one hit while striking out two batters. Senior Kyle Ott relieved him in the fifth inning and pitched the final two innings, earning two strikeouts along the way.
The draw meant that the winner of Game 2 on Friday night would win the series.
For the first three innings, it looked like Game 2 was going to play out the same as Game 1. Pitchers Aaron Fletcher for the Red team and Ryan Randel for the White team did not give up a run and combined to strikeout six batters.
But in the fourth inning, the hitters started getting the barrel to the ball. Sophomore infielder Lael Lockhart hit a leadoff triple and then scored a run off junior Tucker Redden’s sacrifice fly. Redshirt sophomore Wendell Champion later added to the total with a two-run RBI double.
Both starting pitchers were relieved in the fourth inning.
Lockhart again contributed to the run total with a two-run home run to make it 5-0 in the fifth.
But then the White team took advantage of the opposing bullpen. RBIs from Connor Hollis, Zach Needham and a sacrifice fly from Charlie Bartlett cut the Red team’s lead to two in the ninth inning. But Lockhart took to the mound for the final two outs, closing out the series in the Red team’s favor.
In total, nine different batters had hits.
The first game of the regular season is Feb. 16 against Holy Cross. Until then, head coach Todd Whitting’s squad will go through an intense preseason training to decide the starting lineup.