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Bulldogs take 2-of-3 from AC in zone-opening series

Coach Matt Podjenski’s Navarro baseball team took two of three games in their Region XIV East conference-opening series against the Angelina Roadrunners.

The Bulldogs stayed close and scored late in Friday’s game at Lufkin and also in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader in Corsicana.  Navarro won Friday 10-4 and secured a 5-1 first-game victory Saturday at Perry D. Graham Field.

Angelina salvaged the doubleheader nightcap, 7-3.

Lefthander Paul Dickens (3-2) used 94 pitches to throw a complete-game four-hitter with 10 strikeouts in Saturday’s opening-game win.  The Bulldogs broke a 1-1 tie with four fifth-inning runs, punctuated by leftfielder Mason Holt’s two-run single and right fielder Josh Ragan’s run-scoring double.

Dickens was touched for a first-inning run when Angelina got two of its four singles.  With one out, shortstop Hayden Baker and right fielder Alec Paz singled.  Designated hitter Sean Bergeron’s 6-4 fielder’s choice grounder enabled Baker to score the run.

Dickens allowed only two singles by third baseman Dylan Murphy the rest of the way — one in the fourth and the other in the seventh.  Coincidentally, Dickens worked around each hit and struck out the sides in both of those innings.

GAME 1/2
SCORE BY INNINGS
Angelina   100  000 0  — 1-4-1
Navarro   000  041  0  — 5-5-0
W: Dickens.  L: Lance Lusk.   Dickens and Orlando.  Lusk, Rodriguez (6) and Nesbit.  LOB – NC 6, Angelina 4. 2B: Ragan.

ANGELINA 7, NAVARRO 3
Left-handed hitting freshman Taylor Meaux drilled a three-run homer to right field in the sixth inning that broke open Game 2 and helped Angelina secure a win.

Right hander Sean Bergeron went seven innings, gave up three hits and struck out four. Kyle Allen worked the final two frames for the Roadrunners.  Meaux, leftfielder Euro Diaz and designated hitter Christian Leonard each smacked two hits to pace Angelina’s 12-hit attack.

Starter Brady Mehl took the loss for Navarro.  In four innings, he gave up six hits and two runs. Colin Wyman, Pepper Jones and Tanner Riley also pitched for NC.

Scott Hastings led Navarro with two hits and drove in all three Bulldog runs.  Holt had two doubles and scored twice.

Game 2/2
SCORE BY INNINGS
Angelina 001 123 000 – 7-12-0
Navarro 000 101 010 – 3-7-0
W: Sean Bergeron.  L: Brady Mehl.   Bergeron, Allen (8) and Gotlieb.  Mehl, Wyman (5), P Jones (6), Riley (8) and Orlando.  LOB: N- 7.  A- 11.  HR: A – Meaux.  2B:  A- Paz.  N- Hastings, Holt (2).

FRIDAY at Lufkin
Game 1 — Navarro 10, Angelina 4
The Bulldogs scored nine of their runs during the final four innings and erased a 4-2 deficit to claim the East Zone opener.

Solo home runs by Scott Hastings in the fourth and by Josh Ragan in the sixth gave Navarro and starting pitcher Austin Faith a 2-1 lead, but the Roadrunners claimed a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to Sean Bergeron’s one-out solo homer and shortstop Nic Garza’s two-out, two-run double.

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Noah Menchaca tags the sliding Grayson runner at third. (Keith Speer photo)

NC tied the game at 4 in its seventh as shortstop Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo doubled to score pinch-runner Layton Wolver from second base.  Cardoza-Oquendo went 4-for-5 (three singles and a double) and knocked in three runs to pace Navarr’s 15-hit attack against four Angelina pitchers.

In the bottom of the seventh, Roadrunner leadoff-hitting left fielder Euro Diaz greeted Navarro’s third pitcher, righthander Ryan Johnston, with a single, but immediately was erased when catcher Beau Orlando picked the baserunner off first.  Johnston responded with consecutive strikeouts of centerfielder Brett Mugavero and rightfielder Alec Paz as momentum seemed to turn.

Bases-loaded walks to Matt Wood and Tim Bechtold pushed across Navarro’s go-ahead runs in the eighth, and Cardoza-Oquendo sent a 3-2 pitch to score Zion Mayberry and Wood with insurance markers.

Johnston worked two innings of scoreless relief and struck out three batters.

Orlando doubled home Navarro’s final two runs in the ninth inning off Chandler Reece.

Righthanded starters Austin Faith of Navarro and Garrett Herrmann battled into the middle innings and did not issue a walk.   Faith went 5.1 innings and gave up three runs on six hits while striking out seven; Herrmann yielded four runs on eight hits while fanning eight.

SCORE BY INNINGS:
Navarro     000 101 242 — 10-15-1
Angelina    000 103 000 — 4-  8-1
W: Johnston (2-0).  L: Sprinkle.
Faith, Panatex (5), Johnston (7), Pepper Jones (9) and Orlando.  Herrmann, Sprinkle (7), Reece (9), Bowman (9) and Gotlieb.  2B: NC – Cardoza-Oquendo, Orlando.  AC – Garza.  HR: NC — Hastings (4); Ragan (4).  AC- Bergeron.  SAC: NC – Orlando.  AC – Garza.  SB: NC – Cardoza-Oquendo.  LOB: NC 6, AC 6.