TUCSON, Arizona — In the start of a four-game stint at the Tuscon Invitational, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets opened play Friday by splitting a doubleheader with Gustavus Adolphus College, located in St. Peter, Minnesota.
The Yellow Jackets dropped the first outing, 3-2, but rallied for a 12-3 victory in the second game.
In HPU's victory, a five-run third inning for the Yellow Jackets broke open the game, while the Yellow Jacket defense and pitching staff limited Gustavus to three runs — all iin the second inning.
Offensively, Blake Null went 2-for-4 at the plate with four RBI, while Cliff Lunceford was 4-for-4 with two doubles and a pair of RBIs.
Shawn Brody picked up the win in relief, throwing four innings. Kory Owen threw 2/3 innings on the mound, Kyle Purdes went one inning, and Ethan Cerna threw the final 1/3 inning of the game. Wesley Smith started and pitched one frame.
In the first game, Howard Payne led 2-1 heading to the bottom of the seventh and final inning, but gave up a two-run double.
The Yellow Jackets scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to gain their2-1 advantage. In the fourth, a Blake Laney RBU sacrifice bunt scored Joshua Gerrig ,who had reached on a walk. In the fifth, a Bailey Smith RBI sac fly to right field scored JW Ledbetter.
Dylan Vilaros allowed three runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts in 6.2 inning, but took the loss.
The Yellow Jackets (6-2) will challenge Wheaton College and Rockford University Saturday.