The UTPB baseball team was locked in a close battle with Lubbock Christian for most of the day as the Falcons looked to end the series on a good note.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, they were unable to do that as they were unable to overcome a ninth-inning burst for the Chaparrals in a 9-5 loss in Lone Star Conference play Sunday at Roden Field.
Despite falling behind early in the rubber game, UTPB head coach Brian Reinke saw his team continue to fight as the matchup progressed.
“You can’t ever give up,” Reinke said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s this game, or life or a job. You got to make sure that you never give up.”
The Falcons found themselves in a 2-0 hole in the top of the first after Mason Donohoe hit an RBI single to left field. George Mendazona scored for Lubbock Christian which was immediately followed with an unearned run from Edgar Hernandez.
Garret Thornton had a quick reply in the bottom of the inning for the Falcons, reaching home plate off a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 2-1.
UTPB (12-20 overall, 9-18 conference) pulled even at 2-2 in the bottom of the third when Pemron Burrows scored off a triple from Oswaldo Godina.
Both teams held up defensively throughout the following three innings, maintaining the 2-2 score until the top of the seventh inning.
Larry Leitha gave Lubbock Christian (16-18, 14-16) the lead once again after scoring on a wild pitch. Nolan Machibroda made the most of his next at bat, hitting a single to right field as Caden Hensley came across to score.
Lubbock Christian extended its lead with a five-run top of the ninth inning, highlighted by a two-run home run from Leitha to break things open.
Despite the deficit, the Falcons showed signs of life in the final inning. UTPB cut the deficit with a bases-clearing triple from Jay Desoto. Desoto finished with two hits and extended his hitting streak to 21 games. It was not enough, however, as Tyler Hardwick recorded the final strikeout to end the Falcons’ comeback chances.
Odessa High graduate Shandon Herrera pitched six innings for Lubbock Christian, surrendering six hits and recording six strikeouts on 95 pitchers while Cannon Davis was credited with the victory in 2.2 innings of relief.
Spencer Cofer had the most productive pitching day for UTPB, ending the day with six strikeouts.
Reinke said his team could have a chance to win more games if it keeps things tighter in the future.
“Right now that’s just reality, we can’t change it,” he said. “We got to keep going to the guys that have had a little bit of success and hopefully they keep doing what works for us.”
The Falcons will look to rebound with a three-game road series against Angelo State starting April 30 in San Angelo.
>>Follow Chris Amaya on Twitter @OA_CAmaya
Lubbock Christian 9, UTPB 5
LCU……………. 200 000 205 — 9 11 0
UTPB………….. 101 000 003 — 5 8 2
Shandon Herrera, Cannon Davis (7), Tyler Hardwick (9) and Luis Navarro. Spencer Cofer, Ed O’Bannon (6), Clay Thompson (7), Jonathan Rice (8), Luis Dominguez (9), Paul McRae (9), Austin Lee (9) and J Raul Lopez. W — Herrera. L — O’Bannon. 2B — Lubbock Christian: Nolan Machibroda, Navarro. UTPB : Garret Thornton. 3B — UTPB: Jay Desoto, Oswaldo Godina. HR — Lubbock Christian: Larry Leitha.
Records — Lubbock Christian 16-18 Overall, 14-16 Lone Star Conference; UTPB 12-20, 9-18.