Abilene, Texas – The top-ranked Tiger baseball team opened up a weekend series at Hardin-Simmons (TX) University by sweeping a doubleheader on Friday.
Trinity stormed back from an early deficit to take an 8-3 win in the opening game, scoring all eight runs in just two innings.
Hardin-Simmons opened the game with three runs in the first two innings, chasing Tiger starter Kevin Flores from the game after just five batters.
Rafe Chaumette got Trinity on the board with his two-RBI triple in the third and Trinity finished with a three-run inning that tied the game 3-3.
The offense continued its scoring barrage with five more runs in the fourth, capped by Michael Goodrich's two-run single.
Neither team scored again and Trinity's bullpen held the Cowboys to just two baserunners over the final five innings of the game.
Friday's finale turned into an extra-inning affair, as Hardin-Simmons rallied for six runs in the bottom of the ninth to extend the game. The Tigers finally broke the 12-12 tie in the 16th and held on for the victory.
Logan Morrison drove in the eventual game-winner with a one-out single in the 16th inning and Chaumette knocked in an insurance run just two batters later to put Trinity up 14-12.
Hardin-Simmons also put the leadoff man on base in the bottom of the inning to bring the tying run to the plate, but James Nittoli retired the next three batters to seal the win – capped by a game-ending strikeout.
Game two began with the Tigers striking first, scoring two runs in the first two innings to take the early lead. Hardin-Simmons tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the second, though, refusing to go down without a fight.
After Trinity scored again in the top of the fourth, the Cowboys brought in four runs in the fifth to take a 6-3 lead over the Tigers.
Trinity responded with six runs in the top of the sixth and three more scores in the seventh to take control of the game with a 12-6 lead. John Tucker's two-run double got the scoring going in the sixth and Chaumette picked up two RBI in each inning.
That set up the comeback from Hardin-Simmons that turned the game into a marathon that nearly lasted two full games.
Trinity improved its record to 22-2 with the wins, extending the team's win streak to five games. Hardin-Simmons fell to 10-19 on the year.
The 16-inning second game is believed to be the longest in school history for the Tigers.
James Nittoli (5-1) pitched 3.2 shutout innings in relief to earn the win, recording six strikeouts and allowing just four hits.
John Tucker and Michael Davis both broke the school record for at-bats in a single game, finishing with nine at-bats each. Tucker led the Tigers by going 4-9 with two runs and four RBI at the plate, while Davis had two hits and scored a run.
Parker Cormack and Blake Frampton had three hits each, and Zach Oretsky finished with a pair of hits as well. Frampton also scored four runs in the game, including the game-winning run after drawing a leadoff walk in the 16th inning. Cormack also added two RBI for the Tigers.
Corey Cater and Nittoli combined to pitch 8.0 innings of relief to finish the game, allowing one run on seven hits and striking out 10 batters during that span. Ian Hussian and Jeff Lonnecker had five strikeouts each to give Tiger pitchers a total of 20 strikeouts in the game.
Trinity and Hardin-Simmons will finish off the weekend series with a 2:00 p.m. game on Saturday.