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Texas Lutheran advances to winner's bracket as Malinovsky sets records

Texas Lutheran advances to winner's bracket as Malinovsky sets records

CLEBURNE, Texas -- Friday at The Depot at Cleburne Station, the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs defeated Southwestern University 4-2 in the 2019 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship opener behind the record-setting 33rd career victory for senior right-hander Nathan Malinovsky (New Braunfels/New Braunfels).

Malinovsky set the new TLU and SCAC career wins records at 33. Against the Pirates, Malinovsky tossed 8-1/3 innings and struck out six to improve to 6-3 in 2019.

Malinovsky, a two-time All-American and two-time SCAC Pitcher of the Year, moved past TLU's Ron Churchman and Brad Orosey for the school record. Malinovsky went past Doug Garner of Millsaps (Miss.) for the conference record.

The Bulldogs rallied in the eighth inning to put Malinovsky in front. TLU scratched across three runs in the eighth against the likely 2019 SCAC Pitcher of the Year Austin Smith.

Trey Albaugh (Tomball/Concordia Lutheran) tied the game at 2-2 with a single to left. Thomas Varner (Austin/Bowie) added an RBI in the eighth, and the Bulldogs scored the third run on an error.

TLU, ranked ninth in the latest D3baseball.com/NCBWA Top 25, improved to 30-10 overall. Southwestern fell to 23-18.

Drew Waller (Bellville/Bellville) got a ground-ball double play in the ninth to record his fifth save.

TLU took the early lead with an RBI single in the third by Varner. He singled to center field to score Albaugh, who singled to start the inning. Albaugh moved to second on a balk and advanced to third on a ground ball to second by Austin Colon (La Grange/La Grange).

Southwestern responded in the top of the fifth with an RBI ground-rule double from Ted Lobkowicz. A wild pitch brought Lobkowicz home later in the inning. Both doubles in the inning were not hit well but dropped in for hits.

Smith, who defeated TLU earlier in the year in Seguin, took the loss. He struck out 10, walked eight, and balked three times.

Varner was 3-for-3 with two RBI and two walks. Albaugh was 2-for-4 wit a run scored and an RBI.

TLU will face the winner of the Trinity-Centenary contest, which began at 4:30 p.m. Friday. The TLU game on Saturday is schedule for a noon start at The Depot.