McKinney, TX- It took until the eighth inning, but the North Texas Copperheads overtook an early four-run deficit to beat the McKinney Marshals, 6-4, on the stormy night. The win wasn’t pretty by any accounts, but the Copperheads have now strung together a pair of wins after a nine-game losing streak dropped them well below the .500 mark.
The Marshals controlled the game from the beginning, building a 4-0 lead before North Texas battled back to ultimately gain control, but they never had the victory solidified until the final out was recorded.
McKinney kicked off the scoring in the second inning. Patrick Palmeiro (Howard) doubled down the left field line with two outs, and scored via an errant throw from the catcher on an attempted steal of third base. The lead grew to 2-0 in the next inning when Spencer Barnett (Oral Roberts) singled to right field, scoring Chase Huchingson (Central Arkansas) from third.
Both runs for the Marshals came off North Texas starter Teddy Nowell (TCU). Nowell allowed four hits and a pair of runs over five innings, walking four and striking out only two batters.
The Copperheads were handcuffed through the first six innings by McKinney starter Marcus Limon (Wayland Baptist). Limon allowed only one hit and three walks while striking out ten Copperheads. The lone hit off Limon came with one out in the sixth inning. Before then, the All-Star had not allowed a hit in 11 innings, and only four, total, over his last three starts.
The Marshals added another pair of runs in the seventh off North Texas reliever Tyler Carter (Navarro). Palmeiro lead off the inning with his second double of the game, and scored on another Copperhead error. In an incident of déjà vu, Barnett once again hit an RBI single to finish off the scoring for the visitors.
North Texas was down, but certainly not out. With Limon out of the game in favor of Michael Clark (North Carolina State), Zach Bellenger (Dartmouth) hit a two-run single, scoring pinch runner Taylor Mabra (Texas-Arlington) and Zac Russell (Cisco).
The final inning proved fatal for the Marshals, as their defense committed a pair of costly errors that gave away the lead and the game. With the bases loaded and one out, Marcellous Biggins (Howard) hit into a possible double play, Barnett couldn’t hold on to second baseman Jason Houston’s (Arkansas-Little Rock) toss. The apparent double play resulted in a pair of runs for North Texas that tied the game, and no outs.
Vance Woodruff (Oklahoma State) relieved Taylor Christian (Texas Tech), but loaded the bases on a walk and allowed the Copperheads to take the lead on a wild pitch. The next batter, Andy Pratt (Arkansas), jumped the lead to 6-4 with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Even with the two-run lead, the game wasn’t nailed down for North Texas. After Carter allowed the first two batters to reach base, closer Chris Haney (Dallas Baptist) came in to finish the game. Jeff Schaffert (Centenary) sacrificed both runners into scoring position with only one out, but Huchingson fouled out to third base, leaving McKinney with only one out to avoid the loss. Barnett drew a full-count walk to load the bases for Jake Atwell (Virginia Tech). Atwell grounded out to Nick Popescu (Texas Tech) at third base to end the game and seal the victory for the Copperheads.
The win moved the Copperheads to 8-14 on the season, and dropped the Marshals down to 10-12, with all loses occurring from the visitor’s dugout. Carter (1-1) picked up the victory while Christian (0-1) was given the loss. Haney was awarded his third save of the season for his performance.
McKinney and North Texas continue the four-game series at the Battlefields at Craig Ranch in McKinney through Saturday.