Angelo State baseball team rallies late to win LSC Tourney title
For the first time since 2015, Angelo State University’s No.5 baseball team won the Lone Star Conference Tournament title after rallying to beat Lubbock Christian 10-3 on Saturday afternoon at Foster Field in 1st Community Credit Union Stadium.
The ASU improved to 39-7 and the Rams clinched an automatic berth in the NCAA D-II South Central Regional starting Thursday at Foster Field. LCU finished 23-24.
The championship for the Central-South region will be announced at 9 p.m. Sunday online at ncaa.com
Rams junior first baseman Aaron Walters was selected as tournament MVP, along with teammates Josh Elvir (right fielder), Parker Bramlett (designated hitter), Jackson Hardy (center) and pitchers Matt Szabo and Trent Baker have received honors in all tournaments.
ASU led 3-2 after five innings before bursting with seven runs in the start of the sixth inning and adding one more in the eighth for good measure.
Walter’s two-point single was the great success of the sixth.
“It was a 2-0 count and I was just looking for a good ground to hit and put a good swing on and not try to be ahead or out of time,” said the tournament MVP.
Earlier in the tournament, the Rams posted scores like 20-3, 10-1 and 16-3, and they had blown the Chaps 15-3 on Thursday night.
The LCU forced ASU to work hard for Saturday’s win, and the Rams were by no means overconfident.
“You have to give Lubbock Christian a ton of credit,” said ASU head coach Kevin Brooks. “It’s a very, very good team and we thought from the first time we faced them. They lost us two losses this year.
“Being undefeated (in the double-elimination tournament) gives you some advantages, and I think we stayed patient. Their guy (starter Peyton Hutson) played well and I think he just ran out of gas, and obviously a lot of these guys. just work on fumes. “
Rams starter Matt Szabo completed five innings, giving up five hits and three runs, two of which were earned. He took out five and walked one.
Intermediate reliever Aaron Munson (2-0) took the win after limiting the Chaparrals to two hits and no runs in three innings.
Closer Carson Childers worked an unsuccessful ninth.
“We did a good job having the big end there and then Aaron got the big blow that gave us a little bit of a break,” said the Rams coach. “Munson and Childers were exceptional and Szabo gave us a great chance to win the game. Overall I’m very happy.”
Elvir put on a show for the local fans again, going 3 for 5 with two RBIS and a point scored.
Walters (1 for 5, 1 point scored) also led in two runs.
It took the Rams longer than usual to get into a rhythm on the plateau.
“We were going on a bit,” Walters said. “And I think later on we had the pitchers throw nothing to chase anything out of the zone and just stay relaxed and be ourselves.
When they do that, the Rams are one of the scariest teams in the country.
Third baseman Jordan Williams, left fielder Koby Kelton, designated hitter Thomas Cain, Bramlett and Hardy completed an inning each.
Hutson took the loss after giving up three hits and three, three earned, in 5.2 innings. He pulled out eight and walked three.
The Chaps pitchers issued a total of 11 marches.
ASU had 11 hits, compared to seven for the Chaps.
The Rams are one of those teams who can blast teams with longball or win by playing small ball like they did on Saturday.
“It’s tough because we have a lot of guys in our roster who can run,” said the tournament MVP. “It puts a lot of pressure on the defense and it makes him a perfect game.
“And you can’t relax when you’re on defense when our roster is in place. Putting bunts and pushing is the big deal.”
Foster Field was playing in the biggest game of the season so far on Saturday.
“I thought the crowd at home was a big factor,” said the Rams coach. “We haven’t talked much about the regions, although we’ve known for some time that we host them.
“There was a real, legitimate chance we weren’t going to be there, and that wouldn’t have been good, I guess.”
Brooks is hoping the tickets will sell like hot cakes.
“We have the full capacity,” said the ASU coach. “We can have 4,000 and there’s no reason (not to go). Dude, if you’re a baseball fan you’re going to see some really good teams, every one of them.”
And the last one standing will win a ticket to the D-II College World Series in Cary, NC from June 5-12.
“That’s what these guys have been working hard for since last year, when we didn’t have a chance,” Brooks said. “We’re going to go out and give all we’ve got and see what happens when we play well.
“I feel good where we are at. The only thing that was really true at the start of the year was that from 1 to 9 a different guy was the hero. And I feel like it’s happening now. . We have several working pitchers. And we feel good. We will have a good week of training and will be ready to roll Thursday night with anyone. “
Charles Bryce is a sports reporter in West Texas. Send him a news tip at [email protected] Consider supporting West Texas journalism with a subscription to GoSanAngelo.com.