Photo by: Henoc Kivuye
The Oklahoma Christian University baseball team took to the road en route to Texas, battling three Heartland Conference opponents in as many days.
The first stop on the road was Abilene, Texas where the Eagles squared off against McMurry University on Monday afternoon. Sophomore Cale Coshow got the start on the mound for the Eagles, but a handful of pitchers were needed to grab the 14-13 victory.
Coshow pitched into the fourth and allowed seven runs before being relieved by junior Ryan Nash, who went one and-a-third innings before handing the ball to sophomore Luke Sandoval. Senior Chris Burgess, who threw a season-high four innings and allowed only two runs, relieved Sandoval.
The story of the day was the bat of senior Dillon Andrews, who went 4-5 with a pair of doubles and five RBIs. Andrews also added two stolen bases and a pair of runs to lead the Eagles past the War Hawks.
Andrews offered his opinion on the key to the close win for the Eagles as well as his success at the plate.
“We were competing on a level that we are capable of, which allowed us to overcome the adversity that was present,” Andrews said. “I felt really comfortable in the box – seeing the ball deep – and I hit mistakes that the pitchers were throwing, so I just took advantage of my opportunities. It was one of the first games that I got five good pitches to hit, and I hit four of them.”
Burgess took the win for the Eagles, his fifth of the year.
The Eagles loaded up and headed on to Odessa, Texas to face the University of Texas-Permian Basin. This matchup turned into a doubleheader after the previous game, scheduled for Dobson Field, was cancelled due to weather.
The first game of the doubleheader ran junior Tyler Sturges to the mound. The Eagles set the tone in the third inning, highlighted by a double by junior Blake Stringer to give the Eagles the 3-1 lead.
Permian Basin, however, tied the game in the bottom of the fifth, then knocked both Sturges and junior Kacy Cook in the sixth before junior Tyler Schumann stopped the bleeding that followed five runs plated by the Falcons.
The score would remain 8-3, handing the Eagles a game one loss. Sophomore Jordan Lopez went 3-4 for the Eagles, and Stringer finished 2-3.
Game two of the doubleheader against Permian Basin featured junior Brock Werdel, who went seven scoreless before allowing two runs in the bottom of the seventh.
The Falcons later grabbed the lead 5-3 in the eighth off sophomore Luke Sandoval.
The Eagles took advantage of two Falcon errors in the ninth to tie the game, assisted by hits off the bat of senior Jerry Owen and junior Cory Eastwood. Sandoval held the Falcons scoreless in the bottom of the inning.
Andrews led off the top of the 10th with a bunt single, sacrificed to second by Owen. Stringer drove Andrews home with his second double of the day, and the Eagles grabbed the 6-5 win to top off the doubleheader.
Burgess, who came in to shut the door in the 10th for the Eagles, recorded his seventh save of the year–earning the saves record at Oklahoma Christian.
“It is an honor to be a part of this team and to have the opportunity to get that record,” Burgess said. “But in order to get that saves record, I must give it up to the hitters, the defense and the pitchers before me who created the save opportunity.”
With a road trip record of 2-1 after Tuesday’s split, the Eagles continued south to Kerrville, Texas to make up a game against Texas A&M International University.
The fourth game in three days for the Eagles featured sophomore Kelby Reneau on the mound. Reneau turned in a gem, tossing eight innings and surrendering only one run on the way to the Eagles’ third victory of the road trip, 4-1.
The Eagles started the game with a run in the first inning, made possible by a leadoff single from Lopez. Lopez would later score from second when a bounding groundball allowed him to round third and slide in safely.
The game remained at 1-0 until TAMIU evened the score with a run that was set up by a leadoff triple. The Eagles answered with two more runs the following inning, when a sacrifice fly off the bat of Lopez plated junior Caden Cleveland, and junior Garrett Stephenson scored on a past ball.
The Eagles grabbed an extra run in the bottom of the eighth. Junior Caleb Price replaced Guys as a pinch runner and advanced to third on a perfectly executed hit and run – later scoring on a ground ball.
Burgess posted another save for the Eagles as they concluded their road trip boasting a 3-1 record.
The Eagles’ next game will be April 26, when they take on Southern Nazarene University at Dobson Field.