St. Cloud State completes Invitational sweep

Tarleton State edges Henderson State in 10th; St. Mary's powers to victory

Game 1
St. Cloud State 2, Central Missouri 1

HOUSTON -- St. Cloud State came into the 2016 Houston Winter Invitational as the highest seed among the six NCAA Division II teams participating in the three-day event.

On Sunday, the Huskies were challenged for the first time. In a low-scoring affair, St. Cloud State rode the arm of Sheldon Miks to a 2-1 win over Central Missouri, which, along with the Astros, is the co-host of the invitational at Minute Maid Park.

St. Cloud State (3-0) went unbeaten in Houston and never trailed in any of its three games.

Miks (1-0) went the nine-inning distance, allowing only an eighth-inning run and three hits -- all singles. The left-hander struck out 12 and walked two while throwing 123 pitches, 82 for strikes.

Karl Sorensen, Zach Hoffmann and Cody Rutledge had two hits each for the Huskies, ranked sixth nationally by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Hoffmann and Rutledge scored.

Dylan Farrell, Matt Elliott and Brad Jelinek singled for the Mules (0-3), who lost all three games in the invitational by one run. Jelinek's eighth-inning hit scored Elliott. Ross Juliana (0-1), the second of three Mules pitchers, took the loss.

The game was scoreless until the top of the sixth when Hoffmann scored on a fielding error.

St. Cloud State beat St. Mary's, 14-10, on Friday and Tarleton State, 12-3, on Saturday.

Game 2
Tarleton State 1, Henderson State 0 (10)

Jake Hasbrouck's single down the left-field line scored Hunter Seales from second base for the winning run as Tarleton State beat Henderson State, 1-0, in 10 innings.

Seales drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch from Nick Vanthillo (1-1). After Elijah Christenson struck out swinging, Hasbrouck, the designated hitter, delivered the decisive hit.

Both teams managed only five hits as Henderson State starter Zach Eschberger and Tarleton State starter Trevor Renfro were superb. Eschberger allowed three hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. In six scoreless innings, Renfro allowed four hits with 12 strikeouts and one walk.

Callaway Kirkpatrick (1-1) earned the win, throwing four scoreless innings and allowing one hit in relief.

Henderson State threatened in the sixth inning, but a baserunning miscue derailed the Reddies. With one out, Jordan Taylor doubled to left-center. Hayden Lessenberry followed with a single to left field, advancing Taylor to third base. Lessenberry was picked off first base for the second out.

Both Tarleton State (3-3) and Henderson State (2-4) concluded the 2016 Houston Winter Invitational 1-2.

Game 3
St. Mary's 13, Arkansas-Monticello 5

St. Mary's put the finishing touches on the fourth annual Houston Winter Invitational with a mighty display of power, bombarding Arkansas-Monticello, 13-5, on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.

The Rattlers (4-2) scored four runs in the first to take command, and after the Boll Weevils got within 8-5, the Rattlers pulled away with two runs in the seventh and three in the eighth.

Leading the Rattlers' 15-hit attack with three hits each were 1-2-3 hitters A.J. Perez, Bryan Ramirez, who scored four times, and Matt Smith. Angel Vega had two hits and three RBIs, including a two-run home run into the Crawford Boxes in left field in the first inning.

St. Mary's starter Cole Hybner (1-0) earned the win. Arkansas-Monticello starter Kris Brown (0-1) took the loss.

Ramirez, Smith and Jack Kaiser had two doubles each as the Rattlers accumulated eight doubles.

Nick Piraino, Jake Bever and Mitchell Dornblut had two hits each for Arkansas-Monticello (2-1), which won its first two games of the three-day invitational, featuring six NCAA Division II teams. St. Mary's went 2-1 in the invitational with its only loss Friday to St. Cloud State, the only team to win all three of its games.

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