WARRENSBURG, Mo. – Ryan Luckie’s RBI single in the top of the 13th inning was the difference as seventh-ranked Abilene Christian University rallied to defeat 30th-ranked St. Mary’s University, 9-8, at the NCAA South Central Region Tournament at Crane Stadium.
The game went back-and-forth with three lead changes and four ties, before the Wildcats finally took the lead for good in the 13th inning. The game was the longest of the season for the Rattlers, lasting 4:12. The 13 innings was the most played by the Rattlers since a 14-inning game against Eastern New Mexico University during the 2002 season.
St. Mary’s took the early lead for the second time in three games at the tournament. Greg Herbst (Jr., San Antonio), Jason Garcia (Jr., Falfurrias, Texas) and Reagan Moczygemba (Jr., Bulverde) each had run-scoring singles in the first inning to give the Rattlers a 3-0 lead. Two innings later, the Rattlers increased their lead. With one out, Garcia smashed his fourth homerun of the season, a three-run shot, to make the score 6-0 St. Mary’s.
The Wildcats pulled to within one run, with five runs in the fourth inning, then tied the game in the sixth inning. However, the Rattlers retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Josh McElroy (So., San Antonio) walked and James Hipp (Sr., Uvalde, Texas) singled to put runners on the corners. That brought up Ryan Morrow (Jr., Bulverde, Texas), who grounded out to second, scoring McElroy, and putting St. Mary’s ahead 7-6.
ACU tied the game on a solo homerun by Travis Latz. Then, the Wildcats took the lead for the first time in the game on an RBI double by Luckie in the top of the ninth. However, Herbst sent the game into extra innings, blasting the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth inning over the left centerfield wall, tying the game at 8-8.
From there, the pitchers took over, shutting down both team’s offenses for the next three innings. In the 13th inning, Will Calhoun led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. One out later, Luckie again was the hero, lining a single to center that scored Calhoun with the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the inning, Morrow singled with one out, and one out later Esteban Raygoza (So., San Antonio) lined a double to right, putting runners on second and third with two outs. But, Garcia fouled out to Bret Bochsler, ending the game.
Eduardo Delachica (Jr., Sugarland, Texas) took the loss, despite his longest outing of the season. He allowed one run on two hits and one walk in 3.0 innings of work. Cameron Aspaas picked up his second win of the tournament, allowing three hits and one walk, while striking out six in 5.0 innings of work.
Offensively, Morrow led the Rattlers, going 4-of-7 with a double, RBI and two runs scored. Herbst went 3-of-6 with a homerun, two RBI and two runs scored. Garcia was 3-of-6 with a homerun, four RBI and a run scored. Moczygemba was 3-of-4 with a double and an RBI.
With the loss, St. Mary’s ended the 2010 season with a 40-19 record. Abilene Christian improved to 48-14 and moved on to the consolation bracket championship against the University of the Incarnate Word. The Rattlers won their second Heartland Conference Championship and placed nine players on the All-Heartland Conference team. St. Mary’s returns seven of nine field players for the 2011 team.
Abilene Christian 9, St. Mary’s 8 (May 17, 2010 at Warrensburg, Mo.)
Abilene Christian… 000 501 101 000 1 – 9 10 2 (48-14)
St. Mary’s (Texas).. 303 001 001 000 0 – 8 18 3 (40-19)
Pitchers: Abilene Christian – Z. Sneed; C. Lytle(3); J. Crockett(5); B.Rutherford(7); J. Hartley(9); C. Aspaas(9) and . St. Mary’s (Texas) – Carl O’Neal; M Villarreal(4); Sammy Rivas(7); E. DeLaChica(10); G. Harrelson(13) and Ryan Morrow.
Win-C. Aspaas(8-4) Loss-E. DeLaChica(0-2) T-4:12 A-85
HR ACU – T. Latz (12). HR STMU – Greg Herbst (12); Jason Garcia (4).