Texan Baseball takes down Grand Canyon for first time in program history


PHOENIX – Tarleton State Baseball took Game 1 of the series against the Lopes to secure the first ever win over GCU for the Texans.

Tarleton State (11-8, 2-2 WAC) kicked off the second weekend of conference play with a win over Grand Canyon (9-8, 3-1 WAC) with an 8-6 final. 

Senior Piercen McElyea got the start for the Texans, giving up four runs on five hits, one walk and three strikeouts with 3.1 innings on the mound. Grant Garza (W, 5-1) claimed another win tonight giving up two runs on four hits, one walk and one strikeout with 3.0 innings pitched. Freshman Braydon Risley (S,1) closed out the evening for Tarleton State with 2.2 innings on the mound, giving up no runs on three hits, no walks and no strikeouts. 

The starting pitcher for the Lopes was the WAC’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year, Daniel Avitia (L, 2-3). The starter for Grand Canyon gave up five runs on six hits, no walks and two strikeouts in 2.1 innings on the bump.

Tarleton State compiled eight runs on 11 hits, with a double from Kooper Shook, a triple from Cris Enriquez, four stolen bases with contributions from Mason Hammonds, Trace Morrison, Mason Crews, Shook and one double play. 

The Lopes compiled six runs on twelve hits with two doubles, one triple, a pair of home runs and one double play.

A big five-run second inning gave the Texans a comfortable lead early on to see the home team playing catch-up but ultimately falling short.

In the bottom of the first, the leadoff hitter for GCU came out swinging with a homer to left center to see the first run on the board. 

The second inning was all Tarleton State. Morrison singled to left to see the first Texan on and a double to right center from Shook that made way for the lead runner to come home and get the visitors in the game with only one out on the board. Crews was next in the box and took a hit at the plate to add another runner for Tarleton State. A pair of stolen bases from Shook and Crews put two runners into scoring position and a groundout from Ike Shirey brought Shook home to take the lead, but the Texans were far from finished. Tyson Drake had an RBI single to bring Crews across the plate. Hammonds singled to right center to see Drake at third with Hammonds following quickly behind, taking second base. Enriquez ripped an RBI triple to left center for his first in the Purple and White to see two runs coming in for a 5-1 score going into the bottom of the inning. 

In the top of the fourth, the visitors claimed another two runs. A single to second base from Shirey started off the inning for Tarleton State. Drake singled on a bunt to add another Texan to the bags and a sacrifice bunt from Hammonds advanced both runners into scoring position. Enriquez was next at the plate with a groundout that put Shirey back at home to tally the sixth run. Cole Miears took a hit in the box to see another visitor on base and a single to center field from Hunter Smith allowed Drake to come home for the final run of the inning. 

The home team found some fight in the bottom of the fourth with a walk followed by a homer to bring in a pair of runs for the Lopes. With one out recorded, a double to center put a runner on for Grand Canyon. A walk followed by a single up the middle brought in another run for a 7-4 score with two runners on. A triple down the right field line drove in the final pair of runs for the home team. 

In the seventh inning, Smith singled to right field to get the ball rolling for Tarleton State. Morrison added another single up the middle for the Texans to put Smith at third. With a 1-0 count, Shook waved Smith home as the visitors capitalized on a wild pitch for the last run of the game to see an 8-6 final, securing Tarleton State’s first ever victory over the Lopes. 

The battle of the Purple and White will resume on Saturday at 8 p.m. CT. 

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