Bisons sweep Williams Baptist

SEARCY – Harding’s strong start to the season continued with another doubleheader sweep Tuesday.

Harding used a nine-run sixth inning to defeat Williams Baptist 14-4 in the opener and outstanding pitching to take game two 3-0.

After playing its first 12 games at home and winning 11 of them, Harding will travel to Shawnee, Oklahoma, this weekend to take on Oklahoma Baptist in Great American Conference play. Harding went 2-1 against Southern Nazarene last weekend in the conference opener. Oklahoma Baptist lost all three at Arkansas Tech.

Harding broke open a close game by scoring nine times on only four hits in the sixth inning of game one. The big hits of the inning were a two-run single from Michael Dewald and a two-run double from Logan Lacey.

Lacey’s double was part of a 4-for-4 effort, Harding’s second four-hit game of the season and the first of Lacey’s career. He had two singles and two doubles, scored twice and drove in three. Michael Dewald and Wesley Featherston also drove in three each.

Coulton Doyle, Dewald and Cooper Newsom also had two hits each.

Sophomore Javier Lobo (1-1) earned the win in relief for the Bisons. He pitched 3.2 innings and allowed only one earned run on four hits with a career-high seven strikeouts.

Pitching was the story for the Bisons in game two.

Redshirt freshman Merritt Jay (2-0) shut down the Williams Baptist bats. He allowed only two hits and no runs over 4.2 innings to lower his ERA to 0.68 in two starts. Junior Dylan Penick worked 1.1 scoreless innings, and senior Andrew Bradshaw pitched the seventh for his first save of the season.

It was Harding’s second shutout in 2023.

The Bisons loaded the bases in the first inning, and Lacey’s sacrifice fly gave Harding a 1-0 lead. Two more runs scored in the third on RBI singles from Drew McNeel and Jensen Presley.