College of the Ozarks baseball opened up a four-game set against the Manhattan Christian College (Kan.) Thunder on Friday with pair of wins, 8-0 and 4-2.
Game one starter, Jay Kaufman, was locked in early, as he needed only six first-inning pitches to get three Manhattan groundouts. In the bottom of the inning, C of O’s Max Pulley (1-3, BB, run, RBI, SB) led off with a walk and quickly stole second. Kyle Abrahamson (2-2, 4 runs, 2 BB, 2 SB) followed with a single and stolen base to put two runners in scoring position for Kole Kelley. Kole Kelley (2-3, triple, 2 RBI) smashed a triple to right-center to put the Cats up 2-0 after one frame.
The second inning started out much the same, with a quick top of the inning, and the Cats drawing a Kolton Giefer (0-2, run, BB) walk to start the bottom half. Giefer then advanced to second on a stolen base. Two more walks drawn by Kyle Giefer (1-2, triple, SB, 2 runs) and Kyle Abrahamson set the table for Jay Kaufman (3-4, triple, 4 RBI) to help himself with a base clearing triple to deep right-center.
Kaufman continued to roll on the mound, mixing speeds in the lower half of the zone, getting MCC to groundout a total of twelve times and striking out five times. Kaufman added to his great day at the dish with another pair of RBIs in the fourth inning. The Bobcats never looked back, picking up the 8-0 win. Kaufman finished with a complete game shutout.
Kyle Giefer started game two for the Bobcats on the mound. Giving up a quick single to Thunder leadoff hitter Larry Santos, Giefer found himself in early trouble. MCC used the first Bobcat error of the day to jump on top 1-0. The Bobcats struck right back after a trio of miscues by the Thunder to tie the game after one inning.
Kolton Giefer (1-3, run) and Bryce Burtless (1-3, run, RBI) singled in the second inning, which led to two more runs for the Bobcats. In the third inning, a masterpiece bunt single by Ryan Daggs (1-3, run) ended in the fourth and final Bobcat run driven in by a Lincoln Rassmussen (1-2, 2 RBI) single to center.
Manhattan struggled to get anything else going against Kyle Giefer. Giefer struck out 9 of 22 batters faced in six innings pitched. Ryan Daggs came in to shut the door in the seventh, picking up the save after allowing one run. Bobcats win, 4-2.
The Bobcats and Thunder will play two more tomorrow (Saturday, March 2) starting at noon.