After a couple of rough games the day before, the Bobcats took advantage of the perfect spring weather to earn a split with the #22 NAIA ranked University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma.
The Drovers had scored nine runs in each game on Friday and the Bobcats needed to find a way to slow down their bats. The Bobcats sent Neco Lopez to the mound and Lopez answered the call. USAO took advantage of a one out walk followed by a passed ball and a single to score the game’s first run to start the game. Ryan Daggs would single in the Bobcat half but that was the extent of the offensive threat. Lopez struck out the side in the second and the Bobcats would threaten with a Lincoln Rasmussen hit-by-pitch, a Seth Stamps single, and a Drover error. A ground out to third helped USAO escape the inning and hold on to their 1-0 lead. Lopez pitched around a pair of walks and a single in the top of the third. Max Pulley led off the Bobcat third with a solo blast of over the left field fence to tie the score, 1-1. Aside from the single run for each squad, both teams were stymied at the plate through the fifth inning and could not break through offensively. Lopez recorded a three up-three down inning in the sixth. A Caleb Johnson walk to leadoff the bottom of the sixth would get things going for the Bobcats. Ryan Daggs and Spencer Greene hit back-to-back singles to give the Bobcats a 2-1 lead. A fielder’s choice and an error off a Lincoln Rasmussen ground ball would bring in Daggs and the Bobcats led 3-1 heading to the seventh. The Bobcats put the final three outs in the hands of the starter, Neco Lopez. After a Drover leadoff single, Lopez induced a pop out to center, and two groundouts to end the game and preserve the 3-1 win.
Lopez limited the Drover offense to five hits while striking out eight in the complete game win. Max Pulley’s homerun and Ryan Daggs’ pair of hits propelled the Bobcat offense. Seth Stamps and Spencer Greene each added a hit to contribute to the win.
The Bobcats would not fare as well in game two of the day. The Drovers jumped on top 3-0 in the first with a walk, two singles, an error, and a sacrifice fly. The Bobcats were retired in order and trailed 3-0 after one. Ryan Daggs pitched around a one out walk to retire the Drovers in the second. The Bobcats got on the board in the bottom half when Spencer Greene walked and, a Neco Lopez and Chandler Tidwell each were hit by a pitch. Andrew Martinez drew a bases loaded walk to get the RBI and the first run of the game for the Bobcats. Unfortunately, the big hit was evasive and that was the only run to be scored. USAO answered the Bobcat challenge with five runs of their own in the top of the third and it was quickly an 8-1 score. The Bobcats were retired in order in the bottom of the third and the Drovers added two more runs in the top of the fourth. Trailing 10-1 in the bottom of the fourth, the Bobcats found some life. Neco Lopez led off with a walk and Chandler Tidwell followed with a two-run shot over the right field fence. Rhett Hill and Andrew Martinez walked in front of a Max Pulley Single and the Bobcats were mounting a comeback. Caleb Johnson walked and Andrew Martinez scored on a wild pitch. Ryan Daggs was then hit by a pitch followed by a Spencer Greene fielder’s choice. After a Neco Lopez walk, a strikeout would end the inning with three runners left on base. When the dust settled, the Bobcats had put five runs on the board and cut the lead to 10-6. The Drovers retaliated with four hits and capitalized on three walks to get the five runs back and lead 15-6 after their half of the fifth. The Bobcats were unable to take advantage of a couple of walks and a Zac Salyers hit through the final nine outs and the Drovers would take the series finale, 15-6.
Chandler Tidwell led the Bobcat offense with a homerun and two RBI’s. Max Pulley and Zac Salyers recorded the only other hits for the Bobcats.
The Bobcats will be back in action Thursday, April 1, when they host Oklahoma Wesleyan. Doubleheader action is slated to begin at noon at Coach Bob Smith Field on the campus of the College of the Ozarks.