ROUND ROCK — Defending champion Dallardsville Big Sandy broke the game open with a four-run second inning en route to a 7-1 win over Linden-Kildare in the UIL State Baseball Tournament’s Class 2A state championship game at Dell Diamond.

Big Sandy, in the state tournament for the third straight season, has played for the title in each of those seasons. A year ago, the Wildcats defeated Muenster for the title after falling to Muenster back in 2017.

The Wildcats finish the year 36-4.

Linden-Kildare, in the state tournament for the fourth time in school history, ends the year with a 21-10 record.

Big Sandy starting pitcher Broch Holmes improved to 10-1 on the season with five innings of work on the hill. He struck out eight, walked two and allowed one earned run on two hits. McKane Maxwell worked the final two innings for the Wildcats, giving up no runs on two hits with one strikeout.

Mason Johnson (5-2) shouldered the loss for Linden-Kildare. He went 5.1 innings, striking out three, walking none and giving up four earned runs on eight hits. Trent Wert walked two in 1.2 innings for the Tigers.

After a scoreless first, Big Sandy used RBI singles by Brayden Lennox and Bryan Duff, a hit batsman with the bases loaded and a fielder’s choice RBI off the bat of Graden Emmons to build a 4-0 lead.

The Wildcats made it 5-0 in the third when Holmes doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch, and Duff delivered his second RBI single of the game in the top of the fourth to put Big Sandy on top 6-0.

Linden-Kildare got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Dalton Alford singled with two outs, moved to second on a passed ball and eventually scored on an error.

Big Sandy’s final run came in the top of the sixth when Brayden Lenox doubled, pinch-runner Isaias Ortiz moved to third on a bunt by Hunter Williams and scored on Case Sutherland’s single to make it 7-1.

The Tigers threatened in the sixth and seventh, but couldn’t push another run across.

In the sixth, Nic Kunze reached on an error and Johnson singled, both moving into scoring position on Caleb Cunningham’s groundout before a strikeout ended the threat.

Alford was hit by a pitch and Owen singled with two out in the bottom of the seventh, but Maxwell coaxed a fly ball out to end the game.