CLEBURNE, Texas -- Texas Lutheran University won its first Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship with an 8-5 win Sunday over Centenary College in the SCAC Tournament championship round.
TLU improved to 34-9 overall and will make 5th appearance in NCAA Division III Baseball Regional Championship. (2005, 2006, 2007, 2013, 2018).
This is the 14th all-time conference title in school history for the Bulldogs, and their first post-season SCAC Championship (TLU won an SCAC regular-season title in 2016.)
The Gents ended their season with an overall record of 26-16.
TLU won three straight games in the conference tournament and out-scored opponents by a count of 17-10.
At The Depot at Cleburne Station, TLU took a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning. Riley Schaefer (Thorndale/Thorndale) led off with a single and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Ben Marvin (Kingwood/Kingwood) produced a sac bunt to advance Schaefer to third, and Thomas Varner (Austin/Bowie) ground out to bring in the first TLU run.
A lead off triple from Keaton Boysen (Scottsdale, Ariz./Gateway CC) in the second led to a sacrifice fly from Chad Curtis (Wolfforth/Midland JC) to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
TLU added four more runs in the second to push the lead to 6-0. The Bulldogs scored runs on a RBI-double from Marvin, a single by Tyler Cauley (Baytown/Barbers Hill), a second RBI-double from Boysen, and a Matthew Lemon (Caldwell/Caldwell) sacrifice fly.
Centenary cut the TLU lead to 6-4 in the top of the fourth with back-to-back RBI-doubles from Chris Zapata, Cameron Guin, and Preston Ludwick. Lemon belted a single to right field to push the TLU lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the fifth.
Curtis closed out the Bulldogs' scoring with an RBI double to right center in the seventh.
Schaefer went 3-for-5 with a run scored and a stolen base. Varner and Cauley each scored two runs. Boysen finished 2-for-4 with a run scored, an RBI, a double and a triple.
Dylan Murrell (Tomball/Memorial) took his second win of the season and tournament. The junior right-hander went 4-1/3 innings and allowed four hits. He struck out thre and allowed an earned run. Murrell was the only pitcher of the tournament to earn two wins.
Dylan Drgac (Caldwell/Caldwell) came in and notched the save, the first of the season, tossing the final inning. Drgac allowed just one hit and struck out two.
Bulldogs named to the SCAC All-Tournament Team included: Curtis, Marvin, Eric Rabinowitz (Schertz/Clemens), Varner, Schaefer, Cauley, Boysen, Drgac and Murrell.
The NCAA Division III Baseball regional field will be announced late on Sunday, May 13 at NCAA.com after all conference championship events have concluded. The winners of each Regional will advance to the final D-III World Series to be played in Appleton, Wisc.
A likely regional destination is Spokane, Wash., but the Bulldogs won't know their regional destination until late on Sunday, May 13.