College of the Ozarks Bobcats fell 7-4 to Edward Waters College (Fla.) early Saturday morning in the opening round of the 2019 A.I.I. Baseball Conference Championship.
Both C of O and EWC put a run on the board in their first inning. Max Pulley scored the Bobcats’ run after being hit by a pitch, advancing on a ground out, and then crossing the plate on a Kole Kelley single.
In the top of the second, the Bobcats put together three runs on three hits., which featured a Cade Little walk, Brent Shinkle sacrifice bunt, and singles by Max Pulley, Kyle Abrahamson, and Jay Kaufman. Bryce Burtless held the Tigers scoreless in the bottom of the second to give the Cats an early 4-1 advantage.
The bottom of the fourth found the Tigers taking advantage of a C of O miscue to tally two runs on two hits. They followed up with one run on two hits in the bottom of the fifth, then toggled together four singles in the sixth to score three runs and take a 7-4 lead. Sean Neal entered the game for the Cats and secured the final out of the sixth inning.
The Bobcats made some noise in the seventh, when EWC starter Levi Sigler was replaced by Cody Melton. Following a ground out, Pulley was hit by a pitch and Abrahamson doubled to put runners on the corners with one down. Kaufman was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but the Cats were unable to push any runners across the plate.
Both teams went scoreless in their next at bats, giving Edwards Waters the victory. Sigler picked up his seventh win, Melton posted a save, and Burtless suffered the loss.
Leading the Bobcats at the plate were Kaufman (2-4, 2RBI), Pulley (1-3, 2R, 1RBI), and Little (1-3, 1R). Sean Neal pitched 1.1, allowing one hit and no walks, striking out one; Ethan Whiteis pitched the bottom of the eighth and allowed no runs on no hits with one strikeout and no walks.
The Bobcats will return to tournament action on Sunday at 10 AM Central Time (11 AM ET). C of O will face Fisher College (Mass.), who lost to Talladega (Ala.) on Saturday afternoon. The winner will move on, while the loser will be eliminated. Fans can watch the game live at: https://ggcathletics.com/watch/.
Rain and storms forced some delays and time changes on Saturday. Be sure to check out the tournament home page at http://www.aiisports.com/baseball-championship-central for up-to-date information.