Central Missouri holds on for win at Winter Invitational

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Walk-off home run keeps Arkansas-Monticello unbeaten over four-day tournament

By Richard Dean / Special to MLB.com   

HOUSTON -- Tony Sandifer's first-inning two-run double provided a quick spark for Central Missouri on Tuesday. The hit was much needed as it helped the Mules hold off Winona State, 3-2, in the final day of play of the 2014 Houston Winter Invitational at Minute Maid Park.

Down 3-0, Winona State catcher Nathan Krause doubled in two runs in the top of the seventh, giving life to the Warriors. But Mules relievers Kyle Gehrs and Zach Davis shut down the Warriors the final 2 2/3 innings to give Central Missouri a 2-2 record in the four-day NCAA Division II tournament.

Davis, who relieved Gehrs with two outs in the eighth inning, got Michael Hommes to fly out to left field with runners at first and second to end the game. The left-hander's save earned the win for starter Ricky Rivera (1-0), who allowed no runs and only one hit in five innings.

Starter Chase Blazier (0-1) took the loss for Winona State (1-3), which outhit Central Missouri, 7-5, getting two hits from Krause and Tyler Nehring, who batted .538 over the four days. Miles Orscheln had two hits. His third-inning single scored Sandifer, giving the Mules a 3-0 lead. Mules center fielder Trevor Jones had a hit on Tuesday and for the tournament batted .389 with five stolen bases.

Arkansas-Monticello 6, Henderson State 3

Arkansas-Monticello capped off a productive visit to Minute Maid Park in dramatic fashion on Tuesday. D'Marco Poindexter belted a three-run walk-off home run with one out in the ninth inning, lifting the Boll Weevils to a 6-3 win against Henderson State.

The Boll Weevils won all four of their games in the 2014 Houston Winter Invitational, consisting of seven NCAA Division II teams.

Poindexter's home run into the Crawford Boxes in left field off Nick Vanthillo (0-1) made a winner of Jeff Harvill (1-0), who gave up two runs in the ninth to allow the Reddies to tie the game, 3-3.

Ben Agredano's home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth gave Arkansas-Monticello a 3-1 lead. But in the ninth inning, down to their final strike, Henderson State's Hunter Mayall doubled in pinch-runner Hayden Daniel for the tying run.

Starter Austin Braddock, who pitched three shutout innings and allowed only one hit, had three of the Boll Weevils' 10 hits. Braddock batted .650 over the tournament's four days. Evan Comeau, who hit .467 for the tournament, added two hits and two runs for the Boll Weevils, who outscored their opponents, 33-12.

Mayall, Lee Richardson and Ashton Roberts had two hits apiece for Henderson State (0-4), which scored all three of its runs in the final two innings.

Arkansas Tech 3, Tarleton State 2

HOUSTON -- On the final play of the 2014 Houston Winter Invitational, Arkansas Tech center fielder Sage Boehner made the defensive play of the four-day tournament. Boehner's running, leaping catch on the warning track in center field secured the Wonder Boys' 3-2 win over Tarleton State at Minute Maid Park.

With Alvaro Moreno at second base and two outs in the top of the ninth, Noel Nevarez blasted a shot off Randy Vallejo. Boehner kept running and tracking the ball before leaving his feet to make the grab for the final out, just left of Tal's Hill.

Arkansas Tech's only loss in the NCAA Division II tournament, which concluded on Tuesday and consisted of 12 total games, was on Saturday's first day of play to Arkansas-Monticello, which went 4-0.

The Wonder Boys (3-1) received a strong pitching performance from starter Aaron Johnson and got major contributions on offense from designated hitter Kris Ayers and first baseman Mike Kattula, who was 3-for-3. Ayers' two-out two-run double in the sixth inning gave Arkansas Tech a 3-0 lead. Patrick Castlebury and Zac Johnson each had two hits and scored a run for the Wonder Boys, who out-hit the Texans 12-5.

The left-handed Johnson did not allow a hit until the fifth inning and allowed only one earned run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. Trent Armstrong (1-0) got the win in relief and Vallejo picked up his second save. Texans starter Robert Baker (0-1) took the loss.

Tarleton State (1-1) scored both its runs on a seventh-inning throwing error by third baseman Jay Johnson. Johnson however did drive in the Wonder Boys' first run in the second inning and went 1-for-4.

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

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