The College of the Ozarks Baseball Bobcats continued their long road swing over the weekend with a trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas to take on the Champion Christian College Tigers. Coming off a four-game split at Arlington Baptist the week before, the Bobcats were looking to get some consistency going on both the offensive and defensive sides of the game. The strike zone had been somewhat elusive in the two contests the Bobcats dropped at Arlington and that was a point of emphasis going into the Champion Christian series.
C of O vs Champion Christian – Game 1
Tyler Buchanan got the nod for the Bobcats in game one and he looked to get the series started on the right foot. The bats for both teams were kept in check during the first two innings with the Bobcats picking up a Spencer Greene single in the first as their lone hit. Buchanan did his part and kept the Tiger hitters off balance as well. The Bobcat offense found some life in the third inning when Isaiah Smith walked and advanced to third on an error by the Tiger first baseman. Chuck Hill ripped a single to drive in Smith and the Bobcats were on the board. Hill swiped second but that was all the offense the Bobcats could scrounge. Buchanan continued to keep the Tigers off balance at the plate and the Bobcats held their 1-0 lead into the fifth. Smith started things off again in the fifth with a one out walk. After stealing second, Smith came around to score after a Chuck Hill single and the Bobcat lead was 2-0. With two outs and a runner on, Spencer Green stepped up big and muscled a ball over the left field fence for a two-run shot and a 4-0 lead in the fifth. The Tigers picked up a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Buchanan continued to cruise. The Bobcats added another pair of runs in the sixth when Cadan Kauffman and Zane Kelley led off the inning with back to back walks. Trey Riley bunted the two runners over, and Chandler Tidwell was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Chuck Hill came through again with a two RBI single and the Bobcat lead was up to 6-1 heading to the bottom of the sixth. The Bobcats added an insurance run in the seventh with a Caleb Johnson walk followed by back to back to back singles by Cadan Kauffman, Zane Kalley, and Trey Riley. Riley picked up the RBI and the Bobcats took a 7-1 lead to the bottom of the seventh. Buchanan slammed the door shut on any hopes the Tigers had for a comeback and the Bobcats took game one, 7-1.
Chuck Hill led the way going 3-4 with four RBI’s, while Spencer Greene was 2-4 with a home run and two RBI’s. Caleb Johnson, Zane Kelley, Cadan Kauffman, and Trey Riley each had a hit and Riley picked up an RBI as well. Buchanan earned the complete game win giving up one run on four hits and striking out three.
C of O vs Champion Christian – Game 2
The Bobcats sent Rhett Hill to the mound in game two and he was looking to pick up where Buchanan left off. Ryan Daggs and Caleb Johnson singled in the first, but the Bobcats could not bring them around. Both teams went quietly in the second and a pair of singles by Chuck Hill and Ryan Daggs was all the Bobcats could manage in the third. The Tigers picked up a pair of runs in the bottom of the third off a trio of singles, but Hill closed the door to minimize the damage. The Bobcats picked up a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to tie the score at 2-2. Cadan Kauffman led off with a walk and moved to second on a Chandler Tidwell ground ball. An error by the Tiger shortstop allowed Blake Hultgren to reach and moved Kauffman to third and Isaiah Smith ripped an RBI single to right to make it 2-1. Hultgren moved to third on the single by Smith and then scored on a wild pitch to tie the game 2-2. With the game moving into the late innings, the Bobcats needed to keep the pressure on the Tigers. Blake Hultgren drew a one out walk to start the top of the sixth and Isaiah Smith followed with a single. With Hultgren just 90 feet away, Chuck Hill launched a deep fly ball to right field for the sacrifice, scoring the run. With the Bobcats leading 3-2, Rhett Hill continued his dominance of the Tiger lineup, putting zeros on the board. The Bobcats added an insurance run in the top of the seventh with a Caleb Johnson double to lead off the inning. Trey Riley followed with an RBI double and the Bobcats led 4-2. Hill had the momentum on his side, and he used it to strikeout two more Tigers and induce a pop out to secure the complete game win.
Ryan Daggs led the Bobcat offense going 3-4. Caleb Johnson was 2-4 with a double and a run scored, while Isaiah Smith also recorded a multi-hit game going 2-4 with an RBI. Chuck Hill and Trey Riley each added a hit and an RBI to the win as well. Rhett Hill picked up the win allowing two runs on five hits while striking out 12.
C of O vs Champion Christian – Game 3
Having taken the first two games of the series, the Bobcats came into the second day of the series smelling sweep and they wasted no time making their intentions known. Ryan Daggs stroked a one out double into center and Spencer Greene drew a walk. Trey Riley put the Bobcats on the board with a double to right scoring Daggs and Greene. Spencer Greene was also the man on the mound for game three, and after the Bobcats were retired, he headed out to get to work. With two complete games for the Bobcat pitching staff on Friday, Greene had the same goal in mind. Cruising through the first inning striking out the side, Greene and the Bobcats were ready to roll. The Bobcats manufactured another run in the top of the second when Cadan Kauffman doubled and Chandler Tidwell moved him over with a deep flyball to right. A Blake Hultgren sacrifice fly drove in Kauffman and the Bobcat lead was 3-0. Both offenses were silent until the fifth inning when the Bobcats added another run. Hultgren led off with a walk and Isaiah Smith sacrificed him to second. Chuck Hill then ripped an RBI double to left and the Bobcat lead grew to 4-0 heading to the bottom of the fifth. With the help of a couple of questionable calls, a pair of singles, a double, a triple, and a homerun, the Tigers pushed five across to take the lead into the sixth. Neither team would score in the sixth and the Bobcats needed to rally if they wanted to keep the hopes of a sweep alive. Rhett Hill started the rally with a double to left and Isaiah Smith traded places with him with a double of his own. Hill scored to tie the game and the Bobcats were feeling greedy. Ryan Daggs drew a one out walk and the two runners moved up on a wild pitch. Caleb Johnson picked up and RBI with a sacrifice fly and the Bobcats were back on top, 6-5. Spencer Greene then singled to drive in Daggs before the Bobcats were retired and Greene went back to the mound with a two run lead. Greene recorded two strikeouts and a pop out to end the game and get the 7-5 complete game win.
The Bobcat offensive attack was balanced with Trey Riley leading the way with a pair of doubles and two RBI’s. Rhett Hill, Ryan Daggs, Chuck Hill, Cadan Kauffman, and Isaiah Smith each added a double. Spencer Greene contributed a single in the win.
C of O vs Champion Christian – Game 4
With one game remaining for the Bobcats to pull off the series sweep, Isaiah Smith took the mound looking for the fourth complete game for the C of O pitching staff. The Bobcats were determined to sweep the series and the Tigers were set on not letting it happen.
The Bobcats intensified the pressure on the Tigers early, putting a run on the board in the opening frame. Chuck Hill continued his dominance at the plate with a leadoff single. Ryan Daggs reached on a fielder’s choice and Spencer Greene later followed with a two out single of his own. Trey Riley established himself as an RBI threat with another run driven in on a single to center, and the Bobcats took the 1-0 lead. Derek Skaggs and Chuck Hill would get the only hits for the Bobcats over the next four innings, but Isaiah Smith took care of business on the mound and held the Tigers scoreless. The Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the fifth with three singles and would have been in position to take the lead. However, a fly ball to Derek Skaggs followed by runner being thrown out at third, ended the inning and minimized the damage. Neither team could find the offense in the sixth and the Bobcats needed to score if they had hopes of avoiding extra innings. With the score tied 1-1, Derek Skaggs ripped a one out single to center. Blake Hultgren followed with a single and Skaggs advanced to third. The go ahead run was just 90 feet away and the bobcats had two outs to play with. On a 1-0 count, Hultgren stole second and a miscue by the Tiger second baseman allowed Skaggs to score the run and Hultgren to moved up to third. Insurance is always a good thing and Chuck Hill delivered once again. A single to left drove in Hultgren and the Bobcat lead was 3-1. A Ryan Daggs double moved Hill to third with still only one out. Caleb Johnson stepped up to get the job done and drove in Hill for a 4-1 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh. Ryan Daggs came on in relief in a save opportunity and struck out the side to secure the 4-1 win and the Bobcat sweep.
Isaiah Smith picked up the win for the Bobcats in six innings of work; giving up five hits and striking out four. Ryan Daggs picked up the save striking out three of four batters he faced, and the Bobcats used only five pitchers in the four games over the weekend. Chuck Hill was once again the offensive catalyst with three hits and one RBI. Spencer Greene and Derek Skaggs each picked up a pair of hits and Blake Hultgren, Trey Riley, and Ryan Daggs (2B) each added one hit in the win.
The Bobcats are back in action next weekend as they continue their road tilt at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Game times are 3:00 and 5:00 Friday, and 12:00 and 2:00 Saturday.