Monday, May 13, 2013

NMJC edged by Howard in regional, dropped to loser’s bracket

Clayton Jones/News-Sun
NMJC's Dalton Bowers is tagged out by Howard's Jose Favela during NMJC's
2-1 loss to the Hawks in the Region 5 Tournament.

Clayton Jones
  GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — The New Mexico Junior College baseball team had its chances against Howard College, but couldn’t come up with the clutch hit it needed as an RBI single by Howard’s Cameron Neal in the bottom of the ninth gave the Hawks a 2-1 win over the Thunderbirds in the winner’s bracket semifinal of the Region 5 Tournament on Sunday at QuikTrip Park.
  NMJC (43-14) left 16 runners on base and went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position as Howard starter David Gates limited the T-Birds to one hit through his seven innings of work – keeping NMJC off the board despite nine walks and two hit batters.
  “The bottom line is David Gates was very good tonight,” NMJC coach Josh Simpson said. “He was throwing hard, busting our guys inside and we couldn’t turn on it. Sometimes you just get beat.”
  NMJC now drops to the loser’s bracket where it will face Weatherford College in an elimination game 1 p.m. (CST) today. If the T-Birds beat Weatherford, NMJC will play the winner of Grayson and Temple at 8 p.m. (CST) today.
  One of NMJC’s hits with a runner in scoring position came at the right time when trailing 1-0 in the top of the ninth.
Clayton Jones/News-Sun
NMJC's Omar Gomez rounds third to score the game-tying
run in the ninth inning on Preston Marsh's single.
  Omar Gomez had walked, been sacrificed to second by Marcus Greene and Preston Marsh came up to the plate. The freshman came through with a two-strike single up the middle off of Howard reliever Hunter Wood to score Gomez and tie the game at one.
  After Wood walked Jared Gaspard to put runners on first and second with one out, Howard went to Blake Smith out of the bullpen and he got Mike Bernal to pop out to third and A.J. Perez to ground out to second to end the NMJC threat (putting NMJC’s total to 16 runners left on base).
  Dane Steinhagen led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and was sacrificed to second by Jose Favela.
  Pinch-hitter Joe Cervantes hit an infield single to put runners on first and third with one out.
Clayton Jones/News-Sun
Howard's Cameron Neal (in air) is mobbed by
his teammates after the Hawks' win over NMJC.
  That’s when Neal chopped a single up the middle through NMJC’s drawn in infield to win the game for Howard.
  The Hawks (36-21) will face Midland in the winners bracket final.
  Smith got the win, getting the two final outs in the ninth.
  Pivetta picked up the loss, going 8 1/3 and giving up two runs on nine hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
  “Pivetta was unbelievable,” Simpson said. “He pitched well enough to win tonight, that is for sure.”
  Luis Hernandez went 2-for-4 to lead NMJC (the T-Birds No. 1 through No. 4 hitters were 0-for-9 with eight walks and were twice hit by pitches) while Steinhagen was 2-for-4 with an RBI in the second inning for Howard.

Region 5 Tournament
Grand Prairie, Texas
Howard 2, NMJC 1

NMJC 000 000 001 – 1 5 2
Howard 010 000 001 – 2 9 1

NMJC: Pivetta and Greene. Howard: Gates, Wood (8), Smith (9) and Favela. W – Smith (2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H). L – Pivetta (CG, 2 R, 9 H, 5 SO, 2 BB). RBI – NMJC: Marsh. Howard: Neal, Steinhagen. Record: NMJC (43-14), Howard (36-21)