A late comeback helped seal for the victory in the first of a three-game series against Northwest Missouri State University last Friday, Feb. 17, but the Oklahoma Christian University baseball struggled to keep up its momentum on Saturday and Tuesday’s games.
On Friday afternoon the Bearcats scored two runs in the second inning, which the Eagles responded to with one of their own. The Bearcats scored once in the fourth inning, two in the fifth and one in the eighth to build a 7-1 lead. In the bottom of the ninth, the Eagles rallied and worked their way around the bases, scoring seven runs on six hits to take the game 8-7.
“I told them I am very proud of them for battling back,” Head Coach Lonny Cobble said. “That is why you play until the last out, because there is no clock like in basketball. I just wish we would show that intensity and that fight from the first pitch because we did not have any intensity until that last inning, we were just kind of dead, so that is the disappointing part. The exciting part is that they battled and they did not quit. We have done something right when they do that.”
Senior Dalton Rentz started on the mound for the Eagles against the Bearcats on Friday, giving up 11 hits and recording four strikeouts before being relieved by juniors Matthew Fusselman and Peyton Blass. Striking out two and allowing no hits in his inning of work, Blass picked up his first win of the season for Oklahoma Christian.
The Bearcats scored one run in the first inning against the Eagles during Saturday’s first game, followed by five more in the fifth. They sent another runner home in the seventh before allowing the Eagles to score one run — a solo home run by senior Kolton Brown. The game ended in a 7-1 victory for the Bearcats after seven innings because the initial three-day series turned into a doubleheader on Saturday to avoid Sunday’s chance of rain.
Senior Dylan Fazekas (0-2) recorded the loss for the Eagles, throwing 2.2 innings and giving up one hit, one earned run and striking out two during his time on the mound. Freshman Gabe Rodery relieved Fazekas for 1.2 innings, striking out one and allowing five hits and five earned run before being followed by senior Jake Collins, senior Joe Dell Williams and sophomore Zachary Pape.
Spectators of Saturday’s second game saw the Bearcats scoring six runs in the first inning and the Eagles retaliating with one run in the first, two in the seventh and their fourth run in the eighth. The Bearcats took the series with a 6-4 victory.
Junior Mason McAlister (0-2) picked up the loss on the mound for the Eagles, pitching .1 innings and giving up six hits and six runs before being relieved by sophomore Connor Litterell, Collins, junior Garrett Hill and senior Jake Moore. As a pitching staff, the Eagles struck out seven and gave up 12 hits to the Bearcats.
“We definitely had a chance, we were just a hit away but once again we had opportunities to score earlier in the game but we just did not take advantage of them,” Cobble said. “We are going to have to work on it — not striking out with people on base.”
The Eagles prepared for another doubleheader three days later, Tuesday afternoon against Northwestern Oklahoma State University. The Eagles built an early lead in the first game, as junior Hayden Strobel, senior Chase Kuwitzky, senior Lane Paul and senior Cory Duran scored in the first, second, third and fourth innings, respectively. The Ranger sent a man home in the fifth but the Eagles sealed the game with a final run by sophomore Isaac Holt in the sixth inning for a 5-1 victory.
Brown (2-1) recorded the victory on the mound, going six innings while striking out two and allowing no earned runs on three hits before being relieved by Moore. The senior struck out two and gave up no runs during his single inning of work.
The Rangers rallied in the second game and finished with a 6-3 win over the Eagles after recording runs in the second, third, fifth and seventh innings. The Eagles’ junior Chad Kennedy and senior Jake Baxter managed runs in the second inning and Holt scored in the fifth as the teams split the doubleheader 1-1.
Giving up four earned runs on four hits, freshman Abe Spencer (0-1) took the loss for the Eagles in three innings before being relieved by Fusselman and Collins.
The Eagles now hold a 6-6 record as they enter a three-game series against Cameron University today at Dobson Field at 2 p.m. and Saturday in Lawton, OK, at 1 and 3 p.m.
Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information Office.