With a weekend series filled with post season implications, the College of the Ozarks Baseball Bobcats hosted the Falcons of Kansas Christian College. The NDAG Regional Tournament is just one month away and the seeds for the tournament will be shaped over the next four weeks. Kansas Christian will also be hosting the NCCAA Baseball World Series and the Bobcats are building toward another appearance at the end of May.
College of the Ozarks vs Kansas Christian College – Game 1
Tyler Buchanan went to the mound for the Bobcats in what would turn into a pitchers duel. The only offense produced by either team through the first four innings was a Falcon single and a walk issued to each team. The Falcons broke through in the fifth inning with a single and a double to take a 1-0 lead. The Bobcats broke up the no-hitter in the bottom of the fifth with a Trey Riley single to right but, that was all they could get. The Falcons threatened to add to their lead in the sixth with a leadoff double and added a hit in the seventh, but Buchanan buckled down to close the door. The Bobcats were unable to get the offense going in the final two frames and the series opener went to the Falcons 1-0.
Buchanan went the distance on the mound for the Bobcats giving up one run on five hits, striking out three, and walking only one. The Bobcats could only manage the one hit off the bat of Trey Riley.
College of the Ozarks vs Kansas Christian College – Game 2
The Bobcats sent Riley Loyd to the hill in game two looking to get the Bobcats back in the win column. Loyd made easy work of the Falcons in the first inning and the Bobcats came to the plate looking to strike first. A pair of singles by Ryan Daggs and Spencer Greene started the offense and Trey Riley drilled a ball over the right field fence for a three-run shot to put the Bobcats on the board. That was all the offense the Bobcats could get and they took a 3-0 lead to the second. Loyd continued to keep the Falcon Hitters off balance through six innings, giving up a lone single in the third inning. The Bobcats would get a single off the bat of Blake Hutgren in the second, and another by Spencer Greene in the seventh but that would be the extent of the offense and the Riley Blast proved to be the winning runs.
Loyd pitched six innings of one-hit, shut-out ball with five strikeouts and four walks scattered throughout the game. Ryan Daggs came on in the seventh and struck out the side for the save and the 3-0 win.
College of the Ozarks vs Kansas Christian College – Game 3
After two masterfully pitched games by both sides on Friday, Isaiah Smith went to the hill with the goal of keeping the Bobcat momentum going from the day before. The Falcons led off the game with a single, but Smith closed the door to bring up the Bobcats. A leadoff single by Chuck Hill was followed by a Ryan Daggs homerun and the Bobcats led 2-0 after one. The Falcons answered in the second inning with a double, a walk, and a two RBI single to tie the score 2-2. An error and a fielder’s choice led to another Ryan Daggs two-run shot in the bottom of the second, and the Bobcat lead was back to two, 4-2. The Falcons added a run in the top of the third with a double, a sacrifice bunt to move the runner, and a sacrifice fly. Caleb Johnson led off the Bobcat third with a double, but the Bobcats could not move him along and the score stood at 4-3 heading to the fourth. Smith sandwiched a walk between the first two outs of the fourth, but another pair of walks loaded the bases and Colin Pyatt came on in relief. A Falcon double cleared the bases and gave KCC the 6-4 lead. Pyatt retired the next Falcon batter and the game moved to the bottom of the fourth. Back-to-back one out singles by Blake Hultgren and Chuck Hill gave the Bobcats a chance to answer the KCC offensive output. With Hill at first and Hultgren at third, a double steal resulted in Hultgren scoring and the gap was cut to one, 6-5. Ryan Daggs walked and Spencer Green singled. Caleb Johnson followed with a double to drive in Hill and Daggs to regain the lead 7-6. The Bobcats could not add more tallies and the game moved to the fifth. Pyatt kept the Falcons in check in the fifth and the Bobcats continued to apply pressure. A Rhett Hill single started the bottom of the inning and an error put Chandler Tidwell on. Chuck Hill was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Daggs was hit by a pitch to score Rhett Hill. A Spencer Greene sacrifice fly drove in another run and Caleb Johnson singled to score another pair. The Bobcat lead was 11-6 heading to the top of the sixth. The Falcons knew they needed to respond, and they wasted no time in doing so. A walk, a double, and a pair of singles brought Ryan Daggs on in relief. KCC added another single and a hit by pitch and when the dust settled, the Bobcat lead was shrunk to 11-10. The Bobcats went down in order in their half of the sixth and the Falcons come up needing at least one run to extend the game. A walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a single gave them the run they needed but Daggs slammed the door shut. The stage was set, and the Bobcats needed some heroics to avoid extra innings. Zane Kelly, who entered the game after an injury to Blake Hultgren, singled to start the seventh. Chuck Hill reached on an error and Ryan Daggs singled to load the bases. Spencer Greene stepped in with a lot of possibilities to drive in the winning run. A fly ball to right field accomplished the mission and Kelley scored, giving the Bobcats the walk-off win, 12-11.
Ryan Daggs recorded the win on the mound for the Bobcats and his five RBI’s led the offensive attack. Daggs went three for three with two home runs, and four runs scored to go with his RBI output. Caleb Johnson was also three for three and racked up four RBI’s. Chuck Hill added two hits and Spencer Greene added a hit with two RBI’s, including the game winner. Rhett Hill, Blake Hultgren, and Zane Kelley rounded out the Bobcat offense with one hit each.
College of the Ozarks vs Kansas Christian College – Game 4
With a win in dramatic fashion in game three, the Bobcats were in position to win the series if they could take care of business in the final game. Spencer Greene was tasked with the pitching duties in game four and the Falcons were determined to come out of the series with the split. KCC struck first with a solo homerun in the opening frame but the Bobcats quickly responded. Ryan Daggs singled followed by singles by Spencer Greene and Trey Riley to tie the score. Other than a Falcon double in the third, neither team would produce any offense until the fourth inning. Another Falcon solo home run put them back on top 2-1. Caleb Johnson provided the answer in the bottom of the fourth with a solo blast of his own, and the score was tied again at 2-2. Zane Kelley hit a two out single but that was all the offense the Bobcats could muster. Greene retired the Falcons in order in the fifth and the Bobcats came to the plate looking to break the tie. A one out single off the bat of Isaiah Smith started the fifth inning offense. A fielder’s choice forced Smith out at second but allowed Chuck Hill to reach. Ryan Daggs continued his strong hitting and powered a two-run shot over the left field fence to put the Bobcats up 4-2. Spencer Greene followed with a double, but the Bobcats could not move him around. In the top of the sixth, a leadoff double by the falcons was followed by a hit by pitch with one out. A fielder’s choice gave the Falcon’s two outs with a pair of runners aboard. Green was a pitch away from retiring the Falcons when their number five hitter, CL Stacker, took one over the left field fence for a three-run homer and a 5-4 lead. Greene regrouped and sat down the next batter and the Bobcats now had work to do. The Bobcats went down in order in the sixth and Greene returned the favor retiring the Falcons in order in the top of the seventh. The stage was set but this time, it was the Bobcats that needed the tying run. A leadoff single by Isaiah Smith gave the Bobcats hope for a rally. A fly out was followed by a walk and the Bobcats had runners at first and second with one out. The Falcons put on the shift and a groundball up the middle, that would normally be an easy base hit, went right to the second baseman. The result was a 4-3 double play and the Falcons took the final game, 5-4.
Greene went the distance on the mound giving up five runs on six hits and striking out two. The Bobcat offense was led by Ryan Daggs with two hits in three at bats, including a homerun, with two runs scored. Spencer Greene and Isaiah Smith also added a pair of hits and Caleb Johnson, Trey Riley, and Zane Kelley each tacked on a hit.
The Bobcats will be back in action this weekend when they travel to Chickasha, Oklahoma for a four-game series with one of the top baseball programs in the NAIA, University of Science and Arts. Game times on Friday are 4:00 and 6:00 with games on Saturday at 1:00 and 3:00.