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Riders score road upset in Texas

Luna Community College’s baseball team won one of four games at a strong Vernon College (12-5) over the weekend in Vernon, Texas. Through 16 games, the Rough Riders are 5-11, well ahead of last year’s pace.

Luna came tantalizingly close to a split, falling 13-12 in the series finale Saturday afternoon after having led 11-6 through five innings. After falling in the first game 7-1, the Rough Riders prevailed in the nightcap of Friday’s doubleheader, 9-8. Vernon won 10-6 in Saturday’s first game before having to rally to a comeback win.

Tyler Godfrey, Jace Piepkorn and Dustin Sipe hit home runs for Luna. For Godfrey and Piepkorn, it was their first homers of the year.

Game scores for the four-game set: 7-1 Vernon, 9-8 Luna, 10-6 Vernon and 13-12 Vernon.

The Riders and head coach T.C. Nusser are scheduled to play a three-game series at Wayland Baptist junior varsity on Friday and Saturday.

Vernon 7, Luna 1

The Rough Riders scored a single run in the top of the first and thanks to a good start in pitching and defense held that 1-0 lead until the bottom of the fourth. That’s when the Chaps, aided by costly LCC errors, broke through for three runs to swipe away control. The Chaps added four more in the next inning, and Luna had no answer.

Sipe doubled and hit his second home run of the spring for Luna in going 2 for 3. Pitcher Brandon Petrino struck out six and scattered six hits and one walk over five innings, allowing seven unearned runs. Ashton Hansen struck out two and didn’t allow a hit or run in one inning of relief.

Luna 9, Vernon 8

Again, Luna struck early. Again, the home team answered and stole the lead away. But this time, the Rough Riders had more to say.

Luna scored three runs in the top of the first and took a 4-1 advantage into the bottom of the fourth, when Vernon put up four scores to pull ahead 5-4. But the visitors surged back with five runs in the top of the fifth and weathered a Chap rally to clinch probably the most important win of the young season.

SIpe and Piepkorn both homered and drove in three RBI apiece. Piepkorn, Alex Baez (one triple), Tyler Burch and Tony Limon notched two hits each, and Kyler Rinehart added a double and one RBI. Dylan Begay (1-3) struck out three and earned the win. Daniel Morales fanned six, and K.T. Gearlds struck out three in picking up a save.

Vernon 10, Luna 6

LCC scored at its first opportunity, pushing three runs across in the top of the first. The Chaps gradually tied it by the bottom of the fourth, but Luna put up another three-spot in the top of the fifth to lead 6-3. In the bottom of the sixth, however, Vernon finally put together a big inning, scoring six and seizing control. The Chaps hit four home runs, with Brooks Betcher and Ethan Rodriguez driving in four runs apiece.

Godfrey hit a three-run home run and doubled to finish 2 of 4 at the plate. David Amaya tripled, and Adrian Munoz doubled for Luna, with Amaya and Limon plating one run apiece.
Ruger Bravo was tagged with the loss.

Vernon 13, Luna 12

For the fourth time in as many games, Luna scored in the first at-bats, leading 2-0 midway through the first frame. The Riders led 5-3 midway through the third and 9-4 an inning later. It was 11-6 LCC going into the bottom of the sixth – when the Chaps turned it around with seven runs. The Riders had a chance to reclaim the lead in the top of the seventh but managed one run when at least two were needed.

Amaya doubled twice and Munoz notched three RBI in a 3-for-5 performance to pace Luna. Godfrey, Sipe, who hit a solo home run for his team-leading fourth of the season, and Limon added two hits each. Max Bernstein absorbed the pitching defeat in relief.

Note: Luna softball (0-2) is scheduled to host its home opener Friday against Trinidad State Junior College.