AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Rupert pitched five strong innings of relief and Trevor Harlos drove in two runs, but Concordia (Texas) dropped its season opener to Lubbock Christian by an 8-3 score on Friday, Feb. 1 at Tornado Field.
After Colin Butschek got out of a bases-loaded jam that ended when Brandon Wilson lined out to first baseman Jon McManemin for an unassisted double play, the Tornados answered with three quick runs in the bottom half of the first. Trevor Harlos put the Tornados on the board with a two-run single that plated Brent Schaekel and McManemin. Harlos then scored when Burns reached on an error by the Chaparrals to give the Tornados a quick 3-0 lead to work with.
Lubbock Christian (2-0), which is ranked 16th nationally as an NAIA school, answered right back by tallying two runs in the second and five in the third. Christian Vazquez provided a bases-clearing triple with two outs to give the Chaparrals a 7-3 advantage in the top of the third before Joel Lutz lined out to shortstop Brandon Hollier to end the frame.
Concordia had its opportunities to close the gap in the middle innings, but the Chaparral hurlers came up big by forcing the Tornados to strand two runners on base in the fourth, fifth and sixth frames. After Wilson singled in an insurance run in the sixth, Monty McCasland did not allow a hit in the final three innings to allow the visitors to hang on for the win.
McCasland earned the victory for Lubbock Christian and improved to 1-0 on the young season by pitching five scoreless innings of relief. He recorded five strikeouts and allowed just two hits. Concordia’s Butschek suffered the loss and dropped to 0-1 overall after allowing 11 hits and seven runs, including three earned, over 3.2 frames. He struck out four and did not issue a walk.