The Angelina College Roadrunners are in first place – and the regular season is winding down quickly.
Chase Greening pitched a complete-game four hitter in the opener, getting homers from Ryan Gunhouse and Tommy Henk to lead the ‘Runners to a 3-2 win over Panola College Friday at Roadrunner Complex in Lufkin.
The Roadrunners then capped the afternoon with an 11-5 win in the second game, with Bobby McCormack giving up just two runs over seven innings.
Those wins ensure the Roadrunners grab at least a share of first place in the Region XIV East Zone pending the outcome of the rest of the day's action.
Pitching in his final home game in an AC uniform – and helping celebrate Sophomore Day – Greening turned in yet another pitching gem to boost his season record to 10-1. In his previous start, Greening missed out on a perfect game by giving up an infield single.
Against Panola, the Lufkin native was nearly as sharp, allowing an RBI triple to Pony Daren Kolk in the second and a solo homer to Stephen Martinez in the fourth. After that one long ball, Greening retired 11 of the next 12 Panola hitters.
As tough as Greening was on the mound, he still needed some come-from-behind help from his offense. After Panola took a 2-1 lead on the Martinez homer, AC's Ryan Gunhouse and Tommy Henk blasted back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning to give the Roadrunners a 3-2 lead, and Greening made sure the one run was more than enough to do the trick.
AC got its other run on an RBI single from K.J. Semien in the second inning after Todd Wallace singled and stole second.
In the nightcap, the Roadrunner offense spotted McCormack a big lead with a five-run first inning. Dyllan McGregor led off with a double, Jay Young singled and Keith Cormier took a pitch off his arm to load the bases. Grant Clyde drew a walk to force in a run, Gunhouse drove in another with a single and Wallace made it 3-0 with a long sacrifice fly. Ryan Wilburn's walk chased Panola starter Jason Gibson, who lasted just one-third of an inning. Zach Taylor's single loaded the bases again, and Grant Dougherty drove in another run with a fielder's choice. In all, 10 Roadrunners stepped to the plate in that first frame.
McCormack worked his way through a couple of early-game jams, keeping the Ponies hitless until Brett Pirtle's single in the fifth. The Ponies ruined McCormack's shutout bid in the sixth with RBI singles from Kameron Walker and Kolk, but McCormack set down Panola in order in the seventh. McCormack finished with six strikeouts against just five hits and two earned runs.
AC got two more runs in the sixth on Clyde's two-run single – he'd finish the game with three RBI – along with a run in the seventh and three in the eighth. ‘Runner reliever Nick Wright allowed a run in the ninth, but closed out the game in time for AC's 11-5 win.
With Friday's sweep, the Roadrunners (17-7) dropped the Ponies (16-8) four games back of first place with four games remaining on the regular-season schedule.
AC will travel to Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday for a doubleheader scheduled to start at 1 p.m. The Roadrunners will close out the regular season Saturday in Texarkana.