College of the Ozarks baseball team won their season home opener on Friday afternoon, defeating Kansas Wesleyan University, 4-1, in a 9-inning contest.
Collan Thrasher took the mound for the Bobcats, coming off a stellar 9-3 season in 2018. He opened up the game with two quick ground outs before giving up a hit to KWU’s Jeffry Cochran. Thrasher collected the final out on a pop out. Bryce Burtless singled for the Cats’ first hit of the season in the bottom of the first, but the Cats were unable to score.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when Max Pulley singled, Burtless walked, and senior Jay Kaufman singled to drive in Pulley for the first run of the game. Kaufman and Burtless advanced on the throw to home, and Kole Kelley hit a sacrifice fly to score Burtless for a 2-0 lead by the Bobcats.
In the top of the fifth with one out, KWU combined a two singles and a hit batsman to score a run, closing the gap to 2-1.
Thrasher held the Yotes through the seventh inning before relinquishing the mound with 7 innings pitched, 7 hits, one earned run, strikeouts and no walks. In the bottom of the inning, Kelley legged out an infield single, Kyle Giefer reached on a fielder’s choice, and Westin Gann doubled, moving Giefer to third. Freshman Kyle Abrahamson (Lawrence, KS) singled up the middle to score two, and the Cats took a 4-1 lead.
Bryce Burtless moved from shortstop to the mound and closed out the game for a save, giving up no hits, no runs, one walk, and four strikeouts.
At the plate Friday, Jay Kaufman went 2-4 with one RBI and a double; Kole Kelley went 1-2 with one RBI; Bryce Burtless was 1-2 with one run scored; and Kyle Abrahamson was 1-3 with two RBI.
The Bobcats move to 1-0 on the season and will face the Yotes on Saturday in a doubleheader beginning at noon.