The College of the Ozarks Baseball Bobcats were back in action in the 2022 NCCAA NDAG Regional Tournament Wednesday facing the number one seed, Kansas Christian College.
Having dominated their first two games of the tournament, the Bobcats were looking to continue their momentum with Riley Loyd taking the mound. The Bobcats were looking to advance to the championship round of the double elimination bracket but would have to bring their “A” game to US Baseball Park in Ozark.
Both teams were quiet through the first two innings, and it appeared a pitcher’s duel was underway. The Bobcat offense came to life in the third however and a couple runs would be the result. Trey Riley started the outburst with a bunt single, moving to second on an error. An Isaiah Smith double scored Riley for the early 1-0 lead. Chuck Hill kept things moving with a single and an error and Smith scored to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead. A double play ended the inning and the game moved to the bottom of the third. Loyd continued to buzz through the Falcon lineup through the bottom half and the Bobcats come up looking to add to their lead. A Cadan Kauffman hit by pitch was all the offense the Bobcats could muster, and Loyd went back to the hill. With one out in the fourth, the Flacons picked up their first hit and baserunner for the game, but Loyd slammed the door shut with back-to-back strikeouts. A Chuck Hill single in the fifth was stranded and a Kansas Christian walk gave them a base runner, but Loyd struck out the final batter to send the game to the sixth. Caleb Johnson led off the sixth with a double and Rhett Hill followed with a single to put the Bobcats in position to add to their lead. Titus Atkins drove a sacrifice fly to left to score Johnson and the Bobcat lead grew to 3-0. Rhett Hill made his way around to score before the Bobcats were retired and the game headed to the bottom of the sixth, 4-0 Bobcats. A leadoff walk led to a dazzling play by Riley Loyd off the mound. A Falcon bunt went in the air and a diving catch by Loyd and a throw to first resulted in a double play. A triple and a walk followed but a fly ball to left ended the threat and Loyd kept the Falcons off the board. A Spencer Greene single was all the Bobcat offense in the seventh and Riley Loyd went back to the bump looking to close out the game. A diving play by Daggs provided the first out and a fly ball to right put the Bobcats one out away from the win. A Loyd strikeout ended the game, and the Bobcats took the contest 4-0.
Loyd pitched a two-hit shutout, with seven strikeouts for the win and Chuck Hill and Spencer Greene led the offensive attack with two hits each. Caleb Johnson (2B) Rhett Hill, Trey Riley, and Isaiah Smith (2B) each added a hit to the cause.
The Bobcats will be back in action at approximately 12:30 PM Thursday in the championship game at Coach Bob Smith Field at College of the Ozarks.