ROADRUNNERS SPLIT WITH PANOLA
AC Wraps Up First Round of Conference Play
With his team trailing 8-2 in the fourth inning of Tuesday's opener of a doubleheader with Panola, Angelina College head coach Jeff Livin gathered his team in front of the home dugout for a little pep talk before their next at-bat.
Whatever he said, worked. The ‘Runners rallied from six runs down to take a 10-8 win in Game 1 of a doubleheader originally scheduled to take place in Carthage on Wednesday.
Kenny Allison tripled and scored on Kyler Crenshaw's RBI single in the fifth inning to tie the game; then Allison drove in Ryan Gunhouse with the go-ahead run in the sixth. AC pitcher Austin Robson took over for Chase Greening in the fourth and proceeded to hold the Ponies scoreless over the next three frames. John Gaeke entered in the seventh, retiring Panola without a run to preserve AC's seventh win in Region XIV East Zone play.
"I just told the guys that it wasn't any different to score six runs than it was to score one," Livin said of his dugout chat. "The wind was blowing out, the ground was dry and packed, and we're a team that can score a lot of runs. We just had to buckle down and get it done."
Ryan Gunhouse drove in three of AC's runs, finishing with a solo homer and a pair of singles to go with three runs scored. Allison finished with a triple and a pair of doubles; Crenshaw drove in a pair of runs with a single and a sacrifice fly; and David Pfuntner went 3-for-3 with three singles and two runs scored.
Panola built its early lead on Jason Barton's two-run double in the first, John Alexander's two-run homer in the third and Evan Mistich's three-run shot over the scoreboard in left in the fourth.
AC, which had scored a run in the first and another in the second – this on the Gunhouse homer – sent nine hitters to the plate in the fourth inning. Allison doubled into the right-field corner and scored on Grant Clyde's single; Gunhouse drove in Clyde and Greg Garcia with a single to center; and after Todd Wallace reached on a two-base error and Pfuntner drew a walk, Wallace stole home on a double steal.
Allison's triple in the fifth led to the tying run, and Crenshaw drove in Gunhouse in the seventh for the win.
The Roadrunners weren't as fortunate in the nightcap, falling to the Ponies 15-9 in an error-plagued affair for the home team. AC's usually reliable defense committed nine errors in the game, erasing a 15-hit effort that included a pair of homers from Clyde, along with long balls from Jordan Fuller and Ryan Wilburn. Clyde finished with three RBI and Garcia two in the loss.
The Roadrunners (19-21, 7-7) will travel to Paris on Saturday to begin Round 2 of conference play. Game time for the opener is 1 p.m.