Clarksville, Ark.-Howard Payne University swept the University of the Ozarks in their three-game weekend series after winning both games on Saturday afternoon at Lonnie R. Qualls Field.
Howard Payne (5-7, 0-0) escaped with a 3-2 win over the Eagles in game one behind a two-run first inning. The Yellow Jackets came back in game two and handed Ozarks (6-8, 0-0) a 12-4 loss. The Eagles answered HPU’s two-run first in game one when Caleb Hilton smashed a home run on the first pitch. The third inning saw both teams score one, but it was Howard Payne’s run off an Ozarks’ error that proved to be the game-winner. Following HPU’s two-run first inning, Ozark’s starter Brian Heckmann cruised through four and one-third innings and allowed only one hit. Tim Renshaw collected an RBI when he singled in Caleb Hilton, who earlier reached on a walk, to cut the lead to 3-2 after three innings of play. In the bottom of the seventh, it appeared Ozarks would rally for the win. Hilton and Renshaw each were hit by pitches to open the inning, but neither was able to score despite being in scoring position with just one out. Heckmann (0-2) took the loss after pitching five and one-third innings. He had five strikeouts. Hilton and Renshaw each collected two hits. The Eagles out hit the Yellow Jackets 6-5, but committed three errors. The Yellow Jackets again used a strong first inning, scoring five runs, to maintain momentum in the second game. None of the five runs were earned in the first. Ozarks went scoreless for the first three innings, but then scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a Hilton solo home run, an error and a Justin Brown RBI double. Howard Payne held a 11-3 lead going into the bottom of the eighth before Hilton again hit another solo shot over the right field fence. That would be all the runs the Eagles would manufacture the rest of the way. Curt Dixon (2-3) took the loss after pitching six innings. Dixon struck out five. Hilton paced Ozarks with three hits and 2 RBI. Hilton remains one of the most productive players in the ASC with eight home runs, 62 total bases and 16 RBI. None of the three losses count in the American Southwest Conference standings since Howard Payne competes in the ASC West division. Ozarks will host Eureka College on March 7 at 2:00 p.m.