CLEBURNE, Texas -- Texas Lutheran University jumped out to a 6-0 lead after three innings and held off a game Centenary College squad to win its first-ever SCAC Baseball Tournament title with an 8-5 victory Sunday afternoon at The Depot at Cleburne Station. Official Website l Bracket | Postgame Interview - Greg Burnett and Tyler Cauley | Postgame Interview - Dylan Drgac and Riley Schaefer
Texas Lutheran won the 2016 SCAC regular season baseball title, but today's tournament championship is the first for the program since joining the SCAC prior to the 2014 season. As the receipent of the league's AQ, the Bulldogs will make their first NCAA post-season appearance since 2013 and fifth overall.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Texas Lutheran jumped on Centenary starter Kaleb Kirk with a run in both the first and second innings and added three more before chasing him in the bottom of the third. RBI doubles by Ben Marvin and Keaton Boysen were the big blows as TLU crossed the plate four times in the inning.
- Trailing 6-0, Centenary battled back in the top of the fourth with four runs of its own. Chris Zapata started the rally with a double and both Cameron Guin and Preston Ludwick followed with RBI doubles to get the Gents back in the game.
- Texas Lutheran picked up insurance runs in the fifth and seventh to eventually pull ahead 8-4. Centenary tacked on one run in the top of the eighth that provided the final margin.
- TLU's Dylan Murrell pitched 4.1 innings of four-hit relief to pick up his second win of the championship. Dylan Drgac, who pitched and earned a complete-game victory Friday night, came in and pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save - his first of the season.
TEXAS LUTHERAN UNIVERSITY STATISTICAL STANDOUTS
- Tyler Cauley: 2-4, 1 2B, 2 runs, 1 RBI
- Keaton Boysen: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 run, 1 RBI
- Riley Schaefer: 3-5, 1 2B, 1 run, 1 SB
- Chad Curtis: 1-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI
- Dylan Murrell: 4.1 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 3 K, 0 BB, 1 win
CENTENARY COLLEGE STATISTICAL STANDOUTS
- Chris Zapata: 3-4, 2 2B, 2 runs, 1 RBI
- Cameron Guin: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 rn
- Preston Ludwick: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 run, 1 RBI
- Cole Lavergne: 5.2 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 5 K 2 BB
- This is the first SCAC tournament title for Texas Lutheran in the sport of baseball and earns them their first NCAA Division III tournament berth since 2013.
- With Centenary and Texas Lutheran battling for this year's championship, this marked the first time in the modern SCAC era (1991-forward) that Millsaps College, Southwestern University or Trinity Univerity weren’t in the tournament title game.
- There were no home runs hit in this year's championship, the first time since the league began tracking single-game data (2002) that a baseball tournament was played without a home run being hit.
- This was the first year that the SCAC tournament was played at the Depot at Cleburne Station and the second straight year it was played at a neutral site. The championship was contested at AirHogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas last year.
- Murrell joins 10 other players with two wins in the SCAC championship, which is the most in the tournament's history. Centenary starter Kaleb Kirk won twice in last year's championship run for the Gents.
- Centenary's Zapata was the only repeat performer from last year's all-tournament team. He also made the team as a freshman in 2015.
2018 ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
- Chris Zapata, Centenary College (Catcher)
- Chad Curtis, Texas Lutheran (First Base)
- Ben Marvin, Texas Lutheran (Second Base)
- Eric Rabinowitz, Texas Lutheran (Shortstop)
- Thomas Varner, Texas Lutheran (Third Base)
- Riley Schaefer, Texas Lutheran (Outfielder)
- Chris Haggard, Centenary (Outfielder)
- Jason McCormack, Southwestern (Outfielder)
- Tyler Cauley, Texas Lutheran (Outfielder)
- Keaton Boysen, Texas Lutheran (Designated Hitter)
- Dylan Murrell, Texas Lutheran (Relief Pitcher)
- Austin Smith, Southwestern (Relief Pitcher)
- Matthew Devillier, Centenary (Starting Pitcher)
- Dylan Drgac, Texas Lutheran (Starting Pitcher)
As the league's automatic qualifier, Texas Lutheran heads to a Regional Tournament, to be held at a pre-determined site. Each regional champion books a ticket to Appleton, Wisc. for the championship round.