Instead of leaving for spring break March 16, the Oklahoma Christian University baseball team took the field in a doubleheader against the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith where they lost the first game 16-11 at Dobson Field.
The Eagles fell behind early when the Lions scored seven unanswered points in the first two innings.
Senior Jake Collins was the first to score for Oklahoma Christian as junior Brice Smith brought him in to bring the score to 7-1 in the second inning.
Then, senior Chad Kennedy hit a homerun and scored both himself and sophomore Drew Wright as they closed the gap 7-3.
Oklahoma Christian fell behind 8-3 in the fourth inning before junior Alex Garcia scored Wright and sophomore Hunter Markwardt.
Collins made it to first base two hitters later on fielder’s choice and Kennedy scored bringing the game within two, 8-6
In the sixth inning, the Eagles were down 16-6. Then, Markwardt tripled and brought freshman Julien Ly in to bring the score to 16-7.
Oklahoma Christian scored four more times in the sixth with Markwardt, Wright, Kennedy and Collins all earning a run in the inning, but the Eagles could not overcome the deficit, losing 16-11.
Senior Mason McAlister (2-3) started on the mound for Oklahoma Christian, giving up 11 runs on 11 hits and striking out four batters in four innings. He was relieved by freshman Jake Tomcheck who gave up the other five runs.
In the second game, the Eagles traded runs with the Lions early but gave up four runs in the eighth inning as they fell 7-6.
Markwardt scored the first run after stealing third base and running in after a missed throw putting them up 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning.
Going into the bottom of the second, the game was tied 1-1. Junior Garrett Wages put the Eagles ahead 2-1 by scoring Collins. Wright scored to open the third and pushed the Eagles lead to 3-1.
Oklahoma Christian added to their lead in the fourth when Markwardt scored sophomore Austin Stokes.
Collins and junior Ryan Ward both recorded runs in the fifth inning, giving the Eagles a 6-3 lead.
Arkansas-Fort Smith scored four straight runs in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead 7-6 and held the Eagles scoreless in the ninth to win the game.
Sophomore Gabe Rodery pitched seven innings for Oklahoma Christian, giving up four runs, eight hits and striking out three batters. Senior Garett Hill (1-2) relieved Rodery in the eighth inning and allowed three more runs. He was credited with the loss.
Oklahoma Christian opened the second day’s doubleheader with five unanswered runs after the first inning to best Arkansas-Fort Smith 5-3 March 17.
The Lions scored twice in the first inning to go up 2-0 before the Eagles brought in three runs in the bottom of the first. Markwardt, Wright and Kennedy all scored during this period to help Oklahoma Christian gain the lead 3-2.
Ward reached first base on a throwing error in the third inning, which brought Garcia home and put another run on the board. In the same inning, senior Kolton Brown moved to first on a fielding error and Ward scored for the Eagle’s, giving Oklahoma Christian the win 5-3.
Senior Skyler Martin (3-0) was on the mound for five innings, allowing just two runs on four hits while recording three strikeouts. Collins relieved him and gave up a single run while also recording his fifth save of the season.
In the final game of the series, Oklahoma Christian only recorded three hits as the Lions took the game 7-0 and finished the series 3-1.
Arkansas-Fort Smith scored twice in the fifth, three times in the sixth and twice in the ninth.
Freshman Robbie Suhr (2-1) started and pitched six innings for the Eagles, recording three strike outs and giving up five runs. Junior Connor Litterell, sophomore Conner Fryrear and senior Luke Reynolds all pitched one inning with Reynolds giving up the other two runs.
During the week of spring break, the Eagles traveled to Weatherford, OK to play Southwestern Oklahoma State University and only scored once as the Bulldogs defended their field with a 5-1 victory March 20.
Southwestern jumped to a 2-0 lead after the first three innings before Smith recorded the only run for Oklahoma Christian. Smith hit a homerun over right field to bring the game within one heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Another double and homerun in the seventh and eighth innings pushed the Bulldogs lead to four, and the Eagles failed to score in the ninth.
Junior Michael Basler (0-1) was on the mound for three innings and struck out four batters. Five other pitchers threw an inning each and struck out a combined three batters but gave up a total of three runs.
In another set of back-to-back games, Oklahoma Christian took on 14th-ranked Lubbock Christian University and lost the first game 10-3 March 23 in Lubbock, TX.
Smith recorded the Eagles first run in the second inning with a solo homer to put the Eagles up 1-0.
The Chaparrals scored four times in the bottom of the second inning to go ahead by three.
Wright scored senior Kyle Bottger in the third, and in the fifth, Bottger stole home base to bring the Eagles within four, 7-3.
Oklahoma Christian would not score again as Lubbock Christian scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to win the game.
McAlister (2-4) pitched two innings, striking out three batters and giving up seven runs on seven hits. Litterell relieved him and allowed three runs while striking out three batters.
In the second game, despite high-scoring, the Eagles dropped to 0-2 in the series after losing 17-12 to the Chaparrals.
Smith and Kennedy gave the Eagles an early 2-0 lead before Lubbock Christian pushed the score to 5-2 after scoring five times in the bottom of the third inning.
Oklahoma Christian retook the lead in the fifth inning after Stokes and Ly both scored in the top of the fourth. Then, Bottger homered to open the fifth and sophomore Slater Springman scored to put the game at 6-5.
Again, in the bottom of the fifth, the Chaparrals pulled away by more than doubling their score to a 14-6 advantage.
Smith scored twice, Kennedy, Garcia and junior Callen Crockett added runs in the sixth and seventh innings to close the gap to 14-12 by the top of the eighth.
Lubbock Christian closed the game with three runs, and the Eagles could not answer in the ninth.
Riders (1-2) started and pitched four innings, giving up 11 runs and striking five batters out. Five other pitchers took the mound for the Eagles and combined for three strikeouts and six earned runs.
The second day of competition against Lubbock Christian also included a high score by the Chaparrals as the Eagles fell 14-2 March 24.
Lubbock Christian recorded eight points in just the first inning and the other six came uncontested through the fifth inning as they held a 14-0 lead.
After several throwing errors on a walk by Collins, Crockett and Bottger scored Oklahoma Christian’s only runs.
Martin (3-1) was attributed the loss as the starter for this game, allowing nine runs and striking out three batters in two innings. Three different batters relieved Martin, giving up five runs and producing two strike outs.
The final game of the series saw the Chaparrals complete the series sweep with a 9-2 victory.
Once more, Lubbock Christian went uncontested early, putting up all nine of their points without interruption through eight of the nine innings.
Crockett broke the chain when he scored on Wages getting walked after being hit by a pitch. Bottger scored after Collins and Wages were ruled out on a double play for the last run of the game.
Ruhr (2-2) pitched five innings for the Eagles, giving up four runs and striking out two batters before being replaced by Collins, who gave up five runs.
The Eagle’s will host St. Mary’s University March 29-30 in a pair of doubleheaders. The games begin at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Thursday and 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday.