HOUSTON -– Reliever Keith Picht pitched Emporia State out of a difficult situation in the eighth inning, and the Hornets held off Texas A&M-Kingsville, 3-2, at Minute Maid Park in the first of four games on Saturday in the Astros in Action Division II Invitational.
Joe Tallerine's second triple of the game sparked an eighth-inning rally by the Javelinas that fell just short after Picht entered the game. Ben Villafuerte scored on Tallerine's triple to left-center, making it, 3-1. Tallerine then scored on an infield single by Taylor Taska.
Ryan Guedry followed Taska. After Guedry's second single of the game, the right-handed Picht relieved Brenton Higgins. Picht walked his first batter, Matt Perez, to load the bases with one out. But Picht retired the next two batters to preserve the lead. In the bottom of the ninth, Picht retired the Javelinas in order to get the save and give right-hander Dakota McKaskle (1-0) the win.
Blake Sturgeon and Jordan Slade had two hits each for Emporia State (1-1). Sturgeon's RBI single in the third inning opened the scoring. The Hornets went up, 3-0, on Aaron Rea's two-run double in the top of the eighth.
Both starting pitchers went six innings and were sharp. McKaskle did not allow a run or a walk, and allowed six hits while recording two strikeouts. For the Javelinas (1-1), who out-hit the Hornets, 10-8, Zach Pettiord (0-1) allowed one run on four hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
Garza leads Incarnate Word past Arkansas Tech
HOUSTON -- The way Alex Garza was pitching, Incarnate Word didn't need to score many runs. But it did anyway against Arkansas Tech on Saturday.
A six-run fifth inning ignited the Cardinals to an 8-0 win over the Wonder Boys in the Astros in Action Division II Invitational, which features eight NCAA Division II teams playing over four days at Minute Maid Park.
In a six-inning stint, the right-handed Garza (1-0) gave up only four hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. Of his 81 pitches, 55 were strikes. Jesus Berduzco relieved Garza, and the left-hander gave up only one hit in his three innings.
Blake Woosley and Jonathan Armijo homered for Incarnate Word (2-0), which led 6-0 before Woosley's deep home run to left field in the seventh inning and Armijo's homer to left to lead off the ninth.
Jordan Littlefield's three hits led an 11-hit attack for the Cardinals, who got two hits each from Derrick Walls and Woosley. Jason Stone's two-run single was a big hit in the fifth inning that gave the Cardinals a 4-0 lead.
Jonathan Finnegan had two of the five hits for Arkansas Tech (0-2). Wonder Boys starter Mason Reynolds (0-2) took the loss despite giving up only one run in his four–plus innings.
Arkansas-Monticello posts three-run eighth to top Tarleton State
HOUSTON -- After Tarleton State scored to take a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, one batter later, Arkansas-Monticello right fielder Tyler Caruthers ran a ball down on the warning track to end the inning, stranding runners on second and third base.
The catch by Caruthers on a blast from Fola Lajide not only saved two runs, it may have won the game for Arkansas-Monticello. The Boll Weevils held the Texans without another run and rallied with three runs in the eighth inning for a 5-3 victory on Saturday at Minute Maid Park in the Astros in Action Division II Invitational.
Down 3-2 entering the eighth inning, Arkansas-Monticello (1-1) got RBIs that inning on a double by Hunter Allday, a triple by Ben Agredano and groundout by Caruthers.
Brent Noble (1-0) got the win in relief of Chris Guzman, who gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings. Noble pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing one hit with two strikeouts.
Agredano and Taylor Eaves had two hits each for the Boll Weevils. Colten Boothe's two hits paced the Texans (1-1). Tanner Ross (0-1) took the loss in relief.
Grieshaber stars as Central Missouri tops Abilene Christian
HOUSTON -- Ranked fourth nationally, Central Missouri rebounded from an opening-game loss in the Astros in Action Division II Invitational with an 8-1 win over Abilene Christian on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
The Mules (1-1) broke the game open with a five-run fourth inning off Wildcats starting pitcher Ty Taylor (0-1), who held the Mules scoreless through three innings but struggled in the fourth inning. Taylor's fourth-inning troubles began when he hit No. 9 hitter Jon Cotter on an 0-2 count with two outs in the inning, loading the bases in a scoreless game.
After Cotter reached base, Samuel Domingue singled in two runs for a 2-0 lead. Cotter and Domingue, who reached base four times, scored on Kyle Grieshaber's two-run single. Dusty Maas scored the fifth run in a rundown.
The Mules, who had only two hits in Friday's 4-1 loss to Texas A&M-Kingsville, had 12 hits Saturday with Grieshaber getting four. Chris Fitzpatrick (1-0) earned the win.
Abilene Christian (1-1) scored its run in the sixth as Kyle Giusti's sacrifice fly scored Seth Spivey.
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com.