LUBBOCK — Leadoff man Mark Gottsacker batted 5-for-5 with three doubles, four runs scored and two RBI as Grayson College broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning and defeated New Mexico Junior College, 8-3, on Friday in the first round of the NJCAA Region 5 baseball tournament at Texas Tech’s Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.
The Vikings (36-12) advance to the second round of the winner’s bracket and will face either Odessa College or Hill College this evening at 5 p.m.
Seth Mullis batted 2-for-3 with a double and four RBI for the Vikings. Ryne Randle, Jackson Glenn and Brady Manning added a pair of hits apiece, with Glenn chipping in an RBI and Randle scoring twice.
Tyler Ivey went seven innings for the win and struck out 11 while scattering eight hits and allowing three runs, two of which were earned. Jose Vasquez closed out with two shutout innings of one-hit relief.
The opening round of the tournament had been a stumbling block in recent years for the three-time national champion Vikings.
But on Friday, with the score knotted at 3-3, an error off the bat of Westyn Swenson leading off the bottom of the sixth opened the gates, and Grayson scored four runs to take the lead for good. Gottsacker’s two-run double scored Swenson and Manning, then Mullis followed with another double to bring in Gottsacker and Randle.
Grayson added an insurance run in the eighth as Mullis singled in Gottsacker, who had led off the frame with his third two-sacker of the day.
The Vikings got off to a promising start as Mullis hit a sacrifice fly and Randle scored on a passed ball for a 2-0 lead after one. But NMJC answered with one run in the second and added two more on an error in the third to nose ahead before Glenn evened the ledger on an RBI infield single in the bottom of the third.
NMJC will face the Odessa-Hill loser in an elimination game this morning at 10 a.m.