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War Hawks split series-opening double header with Southwestern

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McMurry University’s baseball team split its non-conference doubleheader with Southwestern University, dropping the opener, 6-5, before coming back to win the nightcap, 12-10, at Walt Driggers Field. The two teams will play the rubber game of the series on Saturday at 3 p.m.

In the opener, the War Hawks (3-2) found themselves in a hole early after the Pirates (1-4) got to McM starter Tyler Jenkins for six earned runs in 2.1 innings on the hill. Jenkins gave up eight of the 10 hits amassed by SU. Stephen Norrell – who came on in relief of Jenkins – had an impressive 4.2 scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and striking out three Pirates.

McMurry chipped away at the Southwestern lead, starting with a two-run double by Nick Hamel in the bottom of the first. A solo home run by Payton Stokes in the fourth and his RBI single in the sixth, made it 6-4.

In the seventh, McMurry Jenkins – who was also McM’s designated hitter – slammed a solo homer for his third roundtripper of the season, cutting the deficit to 6-5. With two out, Hamel singled up the middle to put the tying run on base. But Blaine McRay grounded out to shortstop to end McMurry’s comeback bid.

In game two, senior Ben Russell picked up his first win of the season, but it was not without some anxious moments. Russell went five innings, scattering five hits and permitting two earned runs. He left the game with McM enjoying a 7-2 lead, which the War Hawks expanded to 11-2 with four in the bottom of the sixth.

But three subsequent McM hurlers each found the going rough. The trio gave up eight earned runs. Heading into the ninth up 12-8, McM saw the Pirates plate a pair of runs and have the tying run on third and go-ahead run at the plate. With two out, McM junior Juan Valadez induced a fly ball to end matters and secure the win for the War Hawks.

McMurry batters slammed three more home runs in the game. The long balls were delivered by Hamel, McRay and Payton Stokes. Hamel’s blast matched Jenkins for the team lead with three homers.

Hamel finished the pair of games with some gaudy numbers: 7-for-9 from the plate; a double and home run; four RBI; four runs, and; two walks.

Stokes also had the strokes going for him with the bat, as well. He went 4-for-8m with seven RBI. He scored three runs and homered in each game, as well.

In the game two win, McRay was 2-for-3 with three RBI and three runs. He drew a pair of walks, as well.

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