WINFIELD, Kan. – Southwestern emerged from a tight game one with a victory and then cruised in both ends of Saturday's doubleheader, and the Moundbuilders (14-10, 11-6 KCAC) earned a sweep in the three-game series with Avila baseball (3-24, 2-17 KCAC) this weekend in Winfield.
A few runs late in the contest were critical in all three games of the series, and nowhere was that more evident than in Friday's series opener. After Southwestern struck for a run in both the first and second innings, Avila answered on an RBI single from Trace Clinkenbeard in the third and a leadoff home run from Zach Lintzen in the fifth to tie it up.
Southwestern pulled right back ahead in the bottom of the fifth courtesy of a pair of RBI doubles, but Avila once again answered back in the sixth when Christian Perez walked and scored. Once again, though, the Moundbuilders had a retort ready, striking back for three in the sixth to go up 7-4.
Guillermo Espinoza entered with two men on and nobody out and struck out a pair to get the Eagles through the sixth, but Avila could not answer back against Southwestern reliever Lance Christenberry who tossed six strong innings of relief, earning the win in a 7-4 Moundbuilder victory. Espinoza was strong over three scoreless innings of relief for Avila in his best appearance as an Eagle.
The Eagles got solid starting pitching and battled early in both legs of Saturday's doubleheader, but the Moundbuilders again struck for the decisive runs late to win both contest. Southwestern struck first in the second inning on Saturday when Donovan McMullen doubled and scored, and Avila answered in the fourth when Lintzen walked and scored on a sacrifice fly from Clinkenbeard to tie it up.
Southwestern's Cody Carpenter spoiled a quality start from Avila's Keaton Ashby by doubling and scoring to put the Builders ahead 2-1 in the fifth, but the home team really did its damage once Ashby came out, striking for three runs in the fifth and ultimately ending the game with eight in the eighth. Carpenter was once again the culprit, clearing the bases with a grand slam to walk off a 13-1 run-rule win for Southwestern.
Avila started off the final game of the series strong, staking its first lead of the weekend when Jack Virden doubled and Lintzen singled him in in the third inning. Briley Burrow had tossed three shutout innings to start, but Southwestern final broke through in the middle part of this seven-inning contest. Jaevious Merriweather hit a three-run home run in the fourth and Jason Bray followed with one of his own in the fifth, and the Moundbuilders won the series finale 8-1 to earn the sweep.
Avila baseball will start off a busy home schedule in the month of April by returning home to Kansas City to host Kansas Christian College in a just-announced contest on Tuesday at The Z. First pitch is slated for 3 PM; as always, live stats and video will be available on the Avila Sports Network.