Henderson State finishes Houston Winter Invitational at 4-0

Central Missouri, Arkanas Tech rally at Minute Maid Park on showcase's final day

HOUSTON -- A big reason Henderson State went unbeaten at the 2015 Houston Winter Invitational was the hitting of Claude Johnson.

A most valuable player is not awarded for the event. But if there were, Johnson made a case for himself over four days. On Sunday, Johnson delivered again with three hits and two RBIs in the Reddies' 5-0 win over Winona State at Minute Maid Park.

In four games, Johnson went 10-for-21 with eight RBIs and seven runs. The senior designated hitter collected two home runs, four doubles and one triple.

In Sunday's second of three games, Jordan Taylor contributed three hits and two RBIs for Henderson State (4-0), which scored one run in the top of the first inning and four in the second.

Starter Luke Tebbetts and relievers Josh Henderson and Nick Vanthillo limited the Warriors to six hits, all singles. Of the Reddies' 11 hits, five were extra base hits -- doubles from Johnson, Hunter Mayall and Matt Evans and triples from Johnson and Lance Fields. By the second inning Johnson had five total bases.

Tebbetts (1-0) gave up four hits over six innings, Henderson threw a hitless seventh, and Vanthillo allowed two hits in two innings. Warriors starter Lucas Crimmins (0-1) took the loss, allowing five runs and seven hits in five innings.

Michael Hommes had two hits for Winona State (0-4), which left 10 runners on base.

Henderson State was the only team among the six NCAA Division II schools to go unbeaten, and Winona State was the lone team to not win a game. Henderson State previously rolled past Central Missouri (8-3), Arkansas Tech (8-4) and Tarleton State (8-0).

The Houston Winter Invitational is co-hosted by the Astros and Central Missouri. In its third year, the event was established by Astros owner Jim Crane, who pitched for Central Missouri from 1973-76, posting a 21-8 record and career 2.42 ERA.

Central Missouri storms back to win
Central Missouri 8, St. Mary's 6

Having lost two of its first three games, Central Missouri was in danger of another defeat on Sunday after falling behind by five runs early to St. Mary's.

But a five-run third by the Mules tied the game, and pinch-hitter Bennett Oliver's two-run single in the seventh gave the Mules the lead for good en route to an 8-6 win over the Rattlers at Minute Maid Park.

After St. Mary's scored four runs in the top of the second for a 5-0 advantage, Central Missouri (2-2) was in a deep hole. A big blow for the Mules in the third was a two-run home run to right field by Matt Milner, his second of the Invitational. Trevor Jones, who went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, had an RBI triple in the eighth inning for an insurance run.

Down, 7-6, St. Mary's loaded the bases with one out in the eighth but couldn't score off Trevor Ezell, who pitched two scoreless frames for his second save. Lucas Williams (1-0) relieved starter Grant Gavin and pitched 5 1/3 innings to earn the win. The right-hander allowed only one run and four hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.

Brooks Orton had three hits for the Rattlers (2-2), and Derek Hamilton and Mario Maldonado added two RBIs each. Cole Hybner (0-1), who relieved Rattlers starter John Lynch with two outs in the third, took the loss, allowing two runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Arkansas Tech rallies to take finale
Arkansas Tech 6, Tarleton State 5

Cole Fergus belted a two-run home run into the Crawford Boxes in left field that tied the score for Arkansas Tech in the fifth, then Bryan Heward's infield single scored two eighth-inning runs to lift the Wonder Boys past Tarleton State, 6-5.

Heward's slow roller between pitcher Cole Foster (0-1) and first baseman Elijah Christenson scored Caleb McKinnon from third for the tying run, and Collin O'Neil didn't stop running from second to score the go-ahead run. Arkansas Tech's two-run rally in the bottom of the eighth came after the first two batters were retired.

Tarleton State mounted a ninth-inning threat. But Randy Vallejo retired Evan Robinson on a fly ball to left field with runners at second and third for the final out, making a winner out of Ryan Vruggink (2-0), the fifth of six pitchers for the Wonder Boys (4-4).

Zach Fleet had hits in the fifth and seventh innings that gave Tarleton State (2-2) leads, but the Wonder Boys kept battling after falling behind 1-0, 2-1, 4-2 and 5-4.

Kevin Meredith reached base safely in his five at-bats (three singles, two walks) for the Texans, who had 11 hits. Like his teammate Meredith, Jonathan Schmitz had three hits and scored twice.

Heward had three of the Wonder Boys' 13 hits. O'Neil, Patrick Castleberry and Mark Vaughn had two hits each. By walking on three occasions, Castleberry reached base five times.

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