Bobcats Earn Split in Tri-Match
The College of the Ozarks Bobcats split their two games on day two of the tri-match with Evangel and Texas A & M – Texarkana on Tuesday at Coach Bob Smith Field. On an absolutely beautiful day for baseball, the Bobcats fell to Texas A & M – Texarkana 13-4 and defeated Evangel 7-6 to end the day.
The Bobcats opened the afternoon facing the Eagles from Texarkana. Having won both of their games the day before, and their first game against Evangel on Tuesday, the Eagles were clearly the team to beat. The Bobcats knew they would have their hands full but stepped on the field ready for the challenge.
With Colin Pyatt on the mound for the Bobcats, the first inning had the makings of a pitcher’s duel, as both teams went down in order. The Bobcats then stole the early momentum, with a Max Pulley single to right followed by a two-run home run off the bat of Lincoln Rasmussen. A single by Chandler Tidwell would follow but the Bobcats would strand him at second. Heading to the third, the Bobcats held a 2-0 lead. The Eagles would get one run back off an Angel Mauricio home run, but the Bobcats would close the door and lead 2-1 after three. The fourth inning would see the Bobcats begin to unravel. With two walks, three hit batsmen, a couple of hits, and a home run, the Eagles would build an eight-run inning to lead 9-2. The Bobcats would add two runs of their own with hits by Max Pulley, Lincoln Rasmussen, and Chandler Tidwell in the fourth. That would be all the offense for the Bobcats, as the Eagles added four more runs over the final two frames and win the contest 13-4.
The Bobcats would need to regroup rather quickly as they were set to take on the Evangel Crusaders in the final game of the series. Joe Lee took the mound for the Bobcats as they faced the Crusaders for the second time in as many days. After a couple of singles and a sacrifice to start the game, it appeared that Lee might be off to a rough start. With one out and runners at second and third, Lee tightened down and recorded a strike out and a ground out to second to get out of the jam. The Bobcats would strike early with singles from Zach Ford, Max Pulley, and Lincoln Rasmussen to take an early 1-0 lead in the first. The Crusaders were retired in order in the second and the Bobcats were not able to capitalize on a couple of walks and a single down the right field line off the bat of Rhett Hill, in their half of the inning. The third inning got a little shaky for Lee as he started the inning with a hit batsman and a walk. The Crusaders followed with a single from Patrick Gaul and a couple of groundouts to drive in two runs and take the lead, 2-1. The Bobcats responded in the home half of the third with a solo blast over the left field wall by Ryan Daggs. The Bobcats would then take advantage of control issues by the evangel pitcher, and score three more runs to regain the lead, 5-2, heading to the fourth. The lead was short lived as the Crusaders answered with a pair of singles and a three-run home run. All tied at 5 apiece heading to the bottom of the fourth. The Bobcats would use a Crusader error and a couple of stolen bases by Max pulley to get within 90 feet of another run. Chandler Tidwell answered the call with a deep fly ball to right and Max Pulley dove home for another Bobcat lead. The Bobcats would hold Evangel scoreless in the fifth, then add an insurance run started with an Andrew Martinez walk. With Neco Lopez at the dish, Zac Salyers would enter the game to pinch run and steal second to get into scoring position. Neco Lopez stepped up with an RBI double that bounced over the left field fence, allowing Salyers to score, and giving the Bobcats a 7-5 advantage. Devin McCullough would come on in relief of Joe Lee to take the sixth inning. With three straight fly balls to Pulley in right, McCullough set the Crusaders down in order. The Bobcats went down in order as well in the sixth and the stage was set - three outs away for the Bobcats to earn their first win on the young season. Back to back singles by Patrick Gaul and Noah Suiter would make for an interesting 7th inning. A McCullough strike out was followed by a walk and the Crusaders had bases loaded with one out. An RBI, infield ground out, would put Evangel down by one with runners at second and third and two outs. McCullough would buckle down and retire Grant Miller for the final out of the game and preserve a Bobcat win, 7-6.
The Bobcats pitching was a bright spot with the combination of Joe Lee and Devin McCullough, as well as the bats of Max Pulley, Lincoln Rasmussen, and Ryan Daggs.
The Bobcats will be in action again Friday and Saturday as they welcome Concordia University to Coach Bob Smith Field for games at 1:00 and 3:00 both days.