The No. 6 McLennan Highlanders remained undefeated with a doubleheader sweep of the Angelina Roadrunners Monday afternoon in Lufkin.
The Highlanders defeated the Roadrunners 4-1 in game one. Sophomore Tristen Bayless recorded seven strikeouts in three and two-thirds innings to get the win on the mound. Fellow sophomore Nick Urbantke got the save.
McLennan began the scoring with one run in the top of the second as Griffin Paxton walked, advanced around to third on an error by the Angelina pitcher and scored on a passed ball.
The Highlanders extended their lead with three runs in the top of the fifth. Chase Sortor led off with a double, and Brooks Embry was safe at first on another Angelina error. Aidan Shepardson bunted to score Sortor. Embry scored on a ground out by Dylan Neuse, and Shepardson scored on a single by Grant Miller.
Sam Haley's solo home run in the bottom of the fifth was Angelina's only run on the day.
It was all McLennan in the nightcap as the Highlanders defeated the Roadrunners 11-0 with Shane Daughety getting the win.
Another Highlander run scored in the top of the second as Thornquist singled, moved to second on a passed ball and came around to score on an error.
McLennan exploded for another six runs in the fifth. Josh Breaux was hit by the pitch to lead off the inning. Keaton Milford was safe at first on an error, and Sortor walked to load the bases. Breaux scored on a wild pitch and Thornquist walked. Santos walked, bringing Milford in to score. Caskey was hit by the pitch to score Sortor. Neuse was safe at first and moved to second on another error, bringing Thornquist home. Paxton then doubled to score Caskey and Neuse.
The Highlanders' final run came in the sixth as Milford doubled and scored on a double by Santos.
"Today it all started on the mound for us. We ran a lot of guys out there and had good success. On the day, we gave up one run in 14 innings; you do that, and you are going to win a lot of games," head coach Mitch Thompson said. "Our pitching so far has been outstanding, and that's what it is going to have to continue to be as we continue to play really good opponents throughout the rest of the year."
"I'm very pleased with the two wins. Offensively, we didn't swing the bat extremely well. It was a difficult day to hit with the wind blowing in a little bit, but we just didn't have really good approaches and good swings. We are going to have to keep improving there. We made virtually all the routine plays on defense, so I've got to be pleased with a 4-0 start. Anytime you can go on the road and get [a] sweep, you're happy," Thompson said.
"We've got a big-time opponent coming in Friday and Saturday in Midland. It will be very competitive ballgames, and we will need a lot of folks out there to see the Highlanders get after it."
McLennan 4, Angelina 1
McLennan 010 030 0 – 4 5 0
Angelina 000 010 0 – 1 3 3
Tristen Bayless, Daniel Cole (4), Nick Urbantke (7) and Josh Breaux. Jarod Sprinkle, Jeremy Rodriguez (5) and Sam Gotlieb. WP: Bayless; LP: Sprinkle; SV: Urbantke. Leading hitters – McLennan: Dylan Neuse (0-3, RBI), Grant Miller (1-4, RBI), Chase Sortor (1-3, 2B) and Aidan Shepardson (1-3, RBI); Angelina: Alex Ashy (1-3, 2B) and Sam Haley (1-3, HR, RBI). Record: McLennan 3-0.
McLennan 11, Angelina 0
McLennan 031 061 0 – 11 8
Angelina 000 000 0 – 0 3
Shane Daughety, Levi David (3), Alex DeLeon (4), Connor Heffron (5), Josh Breaux (6), Payton Strambler (7) and Nick Thornquist. Sean Bergeron, Chandler Reece (4), Nick Bowman (5), Hagan Hartman (5), Ty Hoeker (6) and Garrett Boes. WP: Daughety; LP: Bergeron. Leading hitters – McLennan: Dylan Neuse (0-4, RBI), Griffin Paxton (2-4, 2B, 3 RBI), Keaton Milford (1-4, 2B), Nick Thornquist (2-3), Thomas Santos (1-3, 2B, 3 RBI), Mitchell Caskey (1-1, HR, 3 RBI) and George Callil (1-3, 2B); Angelina: Taylor Meaux (1-1, 2B). Record: McLennan 4-0.