College of the Ozarks took the field in Easley, S.C. on Wednesday to play their first game of pool pay in the 2019 NCCAA World Series. It looked as if the Bobcats might upset No. 2 Bluefield College (Va.), as the Bobcats held a 5-3 lead with Bluefield coming up in the bottom of the 9th, but it wasn’t to be, as College of the Ozarks fell 6-5 to Bluefield in an eleven-inning heartbreaker.
Following a scoreless first by both teams, Bobcat third baseman Ryan Daggs led off the second with a double on an 0-2 count, Westin Gann was hit by a pitch, and following an out, Kolton Giefer singled to load the bases. However, the Cats could not find a way to score.
In the fourth, Daggs and Giefer combined with a pair of singles, but were stymied once again from scoring. Bluefield’s Ozzie Millet singled with one out in the bottom of the inning, and a walk put runners on first and second with two outs. An RBI single by Andreas Holtzer tallied the first run on the scoreboard, giving the Rams a 1-0 lead.
The Bobcats tied the game in the top of the fifth on a Kobe Hammers’ double down the left field line, followed by a Max Pulley RBI single.
In the bottom of the sixth, Millet singled and Lenyn Napoleon doubled to open the frame. A wild pitch and a Holtzer double resulted in two more runs for the Rams, capturing a 3-1 lead.
Once again, the Bobcats responded with some action of their own. Hammers led off the seventh inning with a solo homerun to draw within one run, and following Pulley being hit by a pitch, Jay Kaufman blasted a two-run homer to take a 4-3 lead. The Cats held Bluefield scoreless in the bottom of the inning.
The top of eight found Gann being hit by a pitch. Bryce Burtless came in to run and promptly stole second. Joel Ogletree’s ground ball moved Burtless to third, and an RBI single by Giefer pushed Burtless across the plate for a 5-3 Bobcat advantage. Bluefield did not score in the bottom of eight, and the Cats were scoreless in the top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, hits by Edgardo Bernard, Millet, and Napoleon combined with a bad hop resulting in a Bobcat error to score two runs and tie the score at 5.
A one-out double by Giefer in the top of the tenth and a single by Kyle Abrahamson in the eleventh were the only two hits the Bobcats could muster in the additional frames.
In the bottom of the eleventh, Rams’ Huntley and Santana snagged their first hits of the game with one out to put runners on the corners. Millet, who had tormented the Bobcats throughout the game (3-4, 2R, 1RBI), hit a sac fly to the outfield to drive in the winning run.
The Bobcats were led at the plate by Giefer (4-5, 1RBI, double) and Hammers (2-4, 2R, 1RBI, HR, double). Senior right hander Collan Thrasher threw nine solid innings, giving up 4 earned runs on 9 hits. He struck out eight batters and walked three. Sean Neal suffered the loss, allowing one run on two hits in 1.2 innings pitched.
Thursday’s pool play schedule will feature the No. 7 Bobcats at 9:00 AM Central Time against No. 6 Trinity Christian (Ill.) and again at 3:00 PM Central Time versus No. 10 Randall University (Okla.).