Belton, Texas - The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor baseball team grabbed an early lead and then snuffed out a late comeback bid as the Cru topped Howard Payne 4-1 Friday night in Belton. UMHB improves to 14-13 overall and 8-5 in American Southwest Conference play with the victory. The loss the Yellow Jackets to 14-11 overall and 7-6 in the ASC with the loss.

Howard Payne used a walk, a throwing error and a fielder's choice to score an unearned run to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Dakota Best and Jackson Godoy both drew bases loaded walks in the bottom of that inning to give the Cru a 2-1 lead. Ty Johnson scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the third to push the lead to 3-1. Both starting pitchers settled down from there and it would stay 3-1 into the top of the eighth. HPU loaded the bases on a single, a walk and a hit batter with nobody out, but Aaron Barteau struck out the next three hitters to end the threat and work out of the jam. Austin Blanford added an insurance run when he scored on a Yellow Jacket error in the bottom of the eighth. Barteau then struck out the side in the top of the ninth to preserve the win.

Nathan Kent scattered three hits and allowed only an unearned run for UMHB to improve to 4-3 on the year. He struck out six and walked just two. Barteau struck out six batters in two innings to notch his eighth save of the year. Five different Cru players had hits in the game. Matthew Parks took the loss for Howard Payne to drop to 4-3 after giving up five hits and walking seven batters in seven innings of work.

The two teams will close out the series with a 1:00 PM doubleheader on Saturday. UMHB will continue its home stand with a 6:00 PM non-conference game against Southwestern University on Tuesday