FORT SMITH – UAFS touched St. Edward’s ace Tanner Lawson for nine hits during Thursday’s opening game of the Heartland Conference Tournament, but the Lions just couldn’t produce the big hits they needed.
No. 4 seed Lions had only two extra-base hits and left eight runners on base during a 6-2 loss to the No. 1 Hilltoppers at The Depot at Cleburne Station in Cleburne, Texas.
UAFS (32-18) will play No. 2 seed St. Mary’s at noon on Friday in an elimination game. If UAFS wins the first elimination game, it will play the loser of the winner’s bracket semifinal game between St. Edward’s and No. 3 Lubbock Christian at 7 p.m. on Friday.
The Lions led 1-0 on an RBI single by shortstop Troy Cahill in the third inning, but St. Edward’s added single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 3-1 lead. UAFS trimmed St. Edward’s lead to one run (3-2) in the top of the sixth inning on a solo home run by first baseman Kyle Love.
St. Edward’s, though, added a trio of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to pad its lead.
Lions starter Javon Rigsby (6-5) suffered the loss, allowing six runs – five earned – on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings. Reliever Korbin Polly no runs on two hits in 1/3 inning of relief, and reliever Boston Heil retired the only batter he faced in the eighth inning.
Hilltoppers shortstop Blake Alexander was 3 for 4 with one RBI, a double and a home run, right fielder Dylan Mackin was 2 for 4 with one RBI, catcher Robbie Lammons was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs, first baseman Zach Schindler was 2 for 3 with a double and one RBI and third baseman Derek Ramos was 1 for 4 with one RBI.
Lawson (11-2) earned the complete game win for the Hilltoppers (31-19), who improved 6-1 in first-round encounters against the Lions. He allowed only one earned run on nine hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.
All nine of the Lions’ hits came from Nos. 1-5 spots in the batting order. Cahill was 2 for 4 with one RBI, Love was 2 for 3 with one RBI and a home run, left fielder Dion Williams was 2 for 4, designated hitter Anthony Seminaris was 2 for 5 with a double and third baseman Brandon Warner was 1 for 3.
HEARTLAND CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
NO. 1 ST. EDWARD’S 6, NO. 4 UAFS 2
UAFS 001 001 000 — 2 9 2
St. Edward’s 001 110 03X — 6 11 2
Rigsby, Polly (8), Heil (8) and Hurt; Lawson and Lammons. W – Lawson, 11-2. L – Rigsby, 6-5. HRs – UAFS, Love (3); St. Edward’s, Alexander (7).