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Bobcats Avoid World Series Elimination

May 21, 2022

#34 Trey Riley

#15 Rhett Hill

CofO vs Southwestern Assemblies of God University - L 7-4 

The College of the Ozarks Baseball Bobcats woke up Saturday morning to much different weather conditions than the day before as they moved to the second round of the 2022 NCCAA World Series. With cloudy skies and temps in the low fifties, the Bobcats were set to take on the top seeded, Southwestern Assemblies of God University Lions. Coming off a 3-1 opening round win over Carolina University on Friday, having won 11 of their previous 13 outings, and winning their last six in a row, the Bobcats were primed and ready for the second-round test.

 With the Bobcats as the home team on the scoreboard, Riley Loyd took his 5-1 record to the mound to face the Lions. Picking up where he left off in the Regional finals, Loyd took care of business in the first inning and allowed only a two-out single. The Bobcats had scoring early and often in mind as they came to the plate, and it didn’t take long for that determination to pay off. Chuck Hill led the way with a single up the middle and Ryan Daggs doubled to move Hill to third. Spencer Green grounded out, but Hill was able to score, and the Bobcats took the early 1-0 lead. A throwing error on Caleb Johnson’s ground ball allowed Daggs to score and Johnson moved to second. A pair of groundouts followed, and the Bobcats took their 2-0 lead to the second inning. Loyd had to pitch out of a bit of a jam in the second when the Lions, Ben Bills led off with a single. A one-out single followed and the Lions were threatening. A pop out to short and a force out at third ended the threat and the Bobcats came up looking for more. Titus Atkins and Isaiah Smith singled in the second, but the Bobcats were unable to move them around and the game moved to the top of the third. Loyd cruised through the third and a Trey Riley single was all the Bobcats could get in their half. The Lions found some offense in the fourth with a leadoff single and a double to score their first run. Another single scored the tying run and things were getting shaky for the Bobcats. Another single, an error, and a triple off the Lion bats added three more tallies and the Bobcats trailed 5-2. Devin McCullough came on in relief for the Bobcats to try end the inning. Another single scored another run and the Lions’ six hits along with a costly Bobcat miscue led to a 6-2 deficit heading to the bottom of the fourth. A Titus Atkins single and a Cadan Kauffman hit by pitch were both stranded, and McCullough went back to work. Three quick outs brought the Bobcats back to the plate and the big hit continued to be hard to come by for the Bobcats. Trey Riley and Rhett Hill produced two out singles but the third out was recorded and the game moved to the sixth. The Lions added to their lead in the top half of the inning with a trio of singles. They threatened for more, but McCullough closed the door to bring up the Bobcats. A Chuck Hill single was all the Bobcats could get in the sixth and time began to tick on a Bobcat comeback. A leadoff single for the Lions brought in Joe Lee to pitch for the in relief of McCullough. Lee retired all three batters he faced, and the Bobcats came up needing some offense. Caleb Johnson was hit by a pitch with one out and a Trey Riley double drove him in to give the Bobcats some life. The next two batters were retired, however, and that’s all the Bobcats would get. Lee pitched around a pair of singles in the eighth inning to keep the score 7-3, and the Bobcats were unable to produce the much-needed offense in their half of the inning. Colin Pyatt made his way into the game and took over for Joe Lee in the top of the ninth. Pyatt did his job on the mound and brought the Bobcats back to the plate trailing 7-3. The Bobcats were down to their final three outs, and they were in dire need of baserunners. Spencer Greene got things started with a single up the middle and Caleb Johnson followed with a single to left. A passed ball moved the runners to second and third and the Bobcats had something going. A groundout by Trey Riley scored Greene and the Bobcats were chipping away. A two-out walk to Zane Kelley kept the inning alive and put runners on the corners. A strikeout ended the threat, however, and the Bobcats moved to the loser’s bracket to face Mid-America Christian at 4:00.

Trey Riley recorded three hits and a pair of RBIs in the loss and Chuck Hill and Titus Atkins each added a pair of hits. Ryan Daggs, Spencer Greene, Caleb Johnson, Rhett Hill, and Isaiah Smith each added a hit for the Bobcats.

CofO vs Mid-America Christian University - W 4-3 - 11 innings

Coming off their second-round loss to Southwestern Assemblies of God University earlier in the day, the Bobcats needed to regroup as they prepared for an elimination game against Mid-America Christian University, the number four seed. In the double elimination bracket, every game now becomes a “win or go home” contest.

The Bobcats sent Rhett Hill to the mound with hopes of keeping their season alive and advancing to Monday’s tournament action. By way of the coin toss, the Bobcats were the home team on the scoreboard and Hill made short work of the Evangels in the opening frame. The Bobcats made their way to the plate looking to strike first. Chuck Hill led things off with an infield single and Spencer Greene drilled a double down the left field line to score Hill.  Caleb Johnson followed with an RBI single, and the Bobcats took an early 2-0 lead. A double play ended the inning and Hill went back to work. Hill set the Evangels down in order in the second and Zane Kelley reached on an infield single for the Bobcats. Kelley moved to second on an errant pickoff attempt by the catcher and the Bobcats were a base hit away from adding to their lead. The Bobcats were unable to move Kelley around and the game moved to the top of the third. MACU was hitless through the first two innings, but a pair of singles broke the string, and the Evangels were able to break through on the scoreboard. With the lead cut in half, the Bobcats needed to generate more offense. Neither team would produce any offense until a Spencer Greene single with one out in the sixth. Greene was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Caleb Johnson and Trey Riley reached on an infield single to short to put runners at first and second. The Bobcats were unable to advance the runners and the game quickly moved to the seventh inning. The pitchers continued to control the game and the bats remained silent through the eighth inning. The Evangels came up in the top of the ninth needing a run and Rhett Hill went back to the mound to try and close out the game. A diving catch by Isaiah Smith recorded the first out of the inning but an error followed on the next batter and the tying run advanced to second. A single scored the tying run and a hit batsman brought in Ryan Daggs to pitch in relief. Daggs did his job inducing a ground ball to second for the final out and the Bobcats come up looking for a walk-off win. Spencer Greene led off with a walk and a couple of ground balls moved him to third with two outs. Another ground out ended the inning and the game moved to the tenth. Neither team could get the offense going in the tenth and the game moved to the eleventh with both relievers throwing more pitches than either coaching staff would have liked. A pair of singles and a double steal pushed a run across for the Evangels and the Bobcats were on the ropes heading to the bottom of the inning. With elimination just three outs away, the Bobcats needed to get baserunners and find ways to move them up. Ryan Daggs delivered the first dose of hope with a double into the left centerfield gap. Spencer Greene then reached on an error that allowed Daggs to move to third. With the tying run just 90 feet away, Caleb Johnson stepped up and did the job with a sacrifice fly to center. With the game now tied, the focus turned to scoring the winning run and advancing to play Monday. Trey Riley delivered a single to left and Greene advanced to second. Rhett Hill drew a walk and Greene moved to third. With the winning run just one base away, the next pitch scooted past the catcher and Greene scurried home, sliding in for the winning run. The Bobcats had avoided elimination and took the contest 4-3 in 11 innings.

Spencer Greene (2B), Isaiah Smith, and Trey Riley each recorded a pair of hits with Chuck Hill, Ryan Daggs (2B), Caleb Johnson, and Zane Kelley each adding a hit to the cause.  Ryan Daggs picked up the win after an impressive outing from Rhett Hill.

The Bobcats are back in action Monday as the face Southwestern Assemblies of God University in the final elimination game before the quarter-final round. Game time will be 9 AM and the winner will advance to the final four in the World Series.