24 J.D. Payne
15 Kole Kelley
35 Wyatt Saltarelli
College of the Ozarks baseball team hosted a two-day Tri-Match, with games against Mount Mercy University and NAIA preseason #6 ranked Missouri Baptist University.
The Bobcats opened on Day One with a game against the Mustangs of Mount Mercy. The Cats got off to a good start, posting a run in the bottom of the first on a Jacob Karlson triple, followed by a J. D. Payne sacrifice fly. Mount Mercy proceeded to tally three runs in the 3rd inning to take a 3-1 lead. The Cats tied the game at 3 by adding a run in bottom of the third and again in the fourth. Mount Mercy took a 4-3 advantage in the top of the 5th and held it until the bottom of the 7th. Newcomer Bryce Burtless opened the 7th inning with a pinch hit single to left and advanced to second on a sac bunt. The next two batters reached base on Mustang throwing errors to load the bases, and Dylan Heitz singled to left to drive in two runs and capture a 5-4 Bobcat victory. Bobcat Collan Thrasher pitched another complete game, giving up just four hits and striking out 5 batters to move to 2-0 on the season with a 0.64 ERA.
The Cats second game of the day was against Missouri Baptist, and the Spartans came out swinging. They tallied 11 runs on 12 hits and several Bobcat errors. CofO struggled at the plate, collecting only 2 runs on 5 hits. Bobcats Jay Kaufman and Kole Kelley were both 1-for-2 with an RBI, and Kaufman also scored one run. Langdon Simkins suffered the loss, while Spartan Gary Watkins picked up the win.
On Day Two, the Bobcats tried once again to disappoint Mount Mercy in the bottom of the seventh, but they fell just short, losing 4-3 to the Mustangs. The Cats once again scored first, posting a run in the bottom of the first, and the Mustangs tied the score in the top of the 2nd. The Mustangs added 3 more, while holding the Cats scoreless until the bottom of the 7th. The Cats proceeded to score two runs and had a runner in scoring position with two outs, but Chandler Poell, pitching in relief for the Mustangs, was able to close out the inning and earn a save. Bobcat Jacob Karlson went 2-for-4 with a double, Kole Kelley was 1-for-2 with a run scored, and Chad Reusch went 1-for-3 with 1 run scored and 2 runs batted in.
The Bobcats faced Missouri Baptist to close out the Tri-Match on Friday afternoon, and came away with an exciting 12-2 victory over the Spartans. Combining singles by Chad Reusch, J.D. Payne, and Jay Kaufman with a walk, wild pitch, and a few Spartan errors, the Bobcats tallied 5 runs in the bottom of the first inning. The Cats put up two more runs in the second with two outs on Jacob Karlson’s single and J.D. Payne’s first homerun of the season. CofO added three runs in the 4th inning, including a triple by Dylan Heitz, and scored two insurance runs in the 6th before shutting down the Spartans in the 7th. Leading the Cats at the plate was J.D. Payne, who went 3-for-3 with three hits, three runs scored, and 3 RBI. Kole Kelley and Chad Reusch both went 2-for-3; Kelley scored one run and had 1RBI; Reusch scored two runs. Bobcat Wyatt Saltarelli pitched an exceptional game, holding the Spartans to just 2 runs on 6 hits, with 6 strikeouts and one walk. Jansen McQuerter relieved Saltarelli in the 6th inning, and proceeded to shine as he gave up no hits or runs while striking out three.
For the Tri-Match, Missouri Baptist was 3-1; the Bobcats went 2-2, splitting with both teams; and the Mount Mercy Mustangs were 1-3.
The Bobcats will return to action next weekend, as they host Morningside College in a four-game series scheduled for Friday and Saturday afternoons (Feb. 16 and 17).