Two unbeatens remain at Houston college showcase

Astros' annual Division II tourney resumes play Saturday

HOUSTON -- One day after the six teams combined to score 43 runs across three games, Day 2 of the 2015 Houston Winter Invitational at Minute Maid Park started with more high-scoring baseball as Henderson State took an 8-3 win on Friday over Arkansas Tech, followed by Tarleton State topping St. Mary's, 8-4. Central Missouri then edged Winona State, 2-1, to wrap up the event's second day. Play resumes on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.

Central Missouri edges Winona State in Day 2 finale
Central Missouri 2, Winona State 1

It took six games into the 2015 Houston Winter Invitational before there was a low-scoring game. Central Missouri starter Tyler House and Winona State starter Hayden Krimmer were on their game.

Central Missouri scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and held off Winona State, 2-1, in the day's third and final game of the four-day event hosted by the Astros. Mules closer Trevor Ezell got Jordan Plamann to ground out to second base with runners on first and second to end the game, and send the Warriors (0-2) to their second straight loss.

House (1-0), a transfer from the University of Missouri, was making his first appearance with the Mules. In eight strong innings, the left-hander allowed only one run and three hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. His counterpart Krimmer (0-1) was equally sharp, giving up two runs (one earned) and only one hit in five-plus innings.

Central Missouri (1-1), which collected only three hits, had one hit through seven innings, yet led, 2-1. The Mules scored their runs in the sixth after Derek Cornell led off the inning being hit by a pitch from Krimmer. Cornell, who stole second base, scored after a single by Dylan Farrell, and on the play a throwing error by Krimmer allowed Cornell to tie the game.

The Mules' go-ahead run came when Farrell, who had two hits, scored from third base on a ground out to second base by Matt Milner. The Mules had two hits in the eighth without scoring.

The Warriors' only run came in the top of the first inning. Michael Hommes, who opened the game with a walk, scored on a one-out single from Tyler Nehring, who had two of the Warriors' four hits.

Tarleton State rallies to top St. Mary's
Tarleton State 8, St. Mary's 4

Tarleton State hitters were having difficulty getting hits against St. Mary's starter Cody Butler, as he retired the first 10 Texans he faced. Later, the Texans managed to get to Butler, and they had even more success against the Rattlers' relievers.

Eleven of the Texans' 12 hits came in the final four innings as they earned a come-from-behind 8-4 win over the Rattlers (1-1). The Texans (2-0) join Henderson State as the only unbeaten teams at Minute Maid Park in the second day of the four-day 2015 Houston Winter Invitational, consisting of six NCAA Division II baseball teams.

Visiting Tarleton State charged back after falling behind, 3-0, after five innings. The left-handed Butler (0-1) was coasting until Landon Merka singled to right field with one out in the fourth inning of a scoreless game. The Texans were unable to score in the inning, but they began chipping away two innings later. The Texans scored two runs in the sixth, and two more in the seventh chased Butler, who allowed four runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out four with no walks.

Eythan Lenz (1-0), who replaced Texans starter Kyle Gottardy in the fifth inning, was the beneficiary of the Texans' late push that included a three-run eighth, and a single run in the ninth.

Tarleton State got within 3-2 in the sixth on Alec Humphreys' two-out single that scored Peter McMahon, who tripled, and Evan Robinson, who singled and stole second. The Texans took the lead for good in the seventh on a two-run single by McMahon that scored Kevin Meredith and Jonathan Schmitz.

Merka, McMahon, Schmitz and Matt Olive had two hits each for the Texans, who received a save from Cole Foster, who pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Meredith doubled for the Texans, giving him three over two games.

A.J. Perez went 2-for-4 with two runs and Mario Maldonado had two hits and scored a run for St. Mary's, which collected nine hits, including four in the fourth inning and three in the fifth inning.

Henderson State remains unbeaten at showcase with Day 2 win
Henderson State 8, Arkansas Tech 3  

Chris Hunt did not allow a hit in his six innings, and backed by a 13-hit attack, Henderson State had little trouble in beating Arkansas Tech, 8-3.

Claude Johnson's three-run home run to left field off Trent Armstrong (0-1) opened the game's scoring in the bottom of the third, and Tadarious Hawkins' two-run double to right capped off the Reddies' five-run third inning.

On a day Hunt (1-0) didn't need all the run support, he was effective with a low strikeout total. The sophomore right-hander had one strikeout and three walks. He threw 81 pitches, 46 for strikes.

The Wonder Boys, who finished with four hits, didn't get their initial hit until left-handed-hitting Kris Ayers led off the bottom of the seventh with a single past third base against a shift. Hayden Daniel, who replaced Hunt to start the inning, then allowed a double to Cole Fergus. Ayers scored on a sacrifice fly from Bryan Heward.

The other two Wonder Boys' runs came on Heward's inside-the-park home run in the ninth inning, scoring Fergus from second base. Heward's high-towering shot to left-center off Daniel hit just under the yellow line which marks a home run. Heward was already at second base by the time the ball hit the wall.

But there was little else for Arkansas Tech (2-4) to cheer about, losing to a team that consistently put the ball in play. For the second straight game, the Reddies (2-0) accumulated eight runs and 13 hits. On Thursday, Henderson State beat Central Missouri, 8-3, on the first day of the four-day 2015 Houston Winter Invitational, consisting of six NCAA Division II college baseball teams, hosted by the Astros.

On Friday, Johnson and Conner Brackhahn had three hits each for the Reddies, who got two hits and two runs from Hunter Mayall.

Richard Dean is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.