Coming off a nine inning win over William Woods University on Tuesday, the College of the Ozarks Baseball Bobcats welcomed the St. Xavier Cougars to Coach Bob Smith Field. With weather threatening for the weekend, the series was moved to a Thursday start, with a game under the lights. The 6:30 start would be a little different scenario for both teams.
C of O vs St. Xavier – Thursday, March 9 – Game 1
Rhett Hill took the mound for the Bobcats looking for his second win of the season. Pitching around a single in the opening inning, Hill kept the Cougars off the board. The Bobcats settled for a Spencer Greene walk and a Rhett Hill single but the game went to the second with no score. Hill cruised through the second and the Bobcats picked up the offense in their half. With two outs, Brody Baumann ripped a double in the gap and scored on an Aaron Fisher single. That was all the Bobcats could get but the first run on the scoreboard was big. Hill continued to dominate in the third inning and the Cougars were again, kept off the basepaths. The Bobcats attacked again in the bottom of the third with a Caleb Johnson single and a Spencer Greene walk. Johnson scored on a throw to first and a Titus Atkins sacrifice fly drove in Greene. The game moved to the fourth with the Bobcats leading 3-0. The Cougars came charging back in the fourth and cut the lead to 3-2. The Bobcat offense stalled in the bottom of the fourth and St. Xavier pushed the tying run across in the top of the fifth. The Bobcat bats came to life again in the bottom of the inning and a Caleb Johnson single started things off. Rhett Hill drew a walk after Johnson stole second and the Bobcats were threatening with no outs. A Titus Atkins walk loaded the bases and Trey Riley delivered the clutch hit with a two-RBI single to right. Ty Rush added an RBI with a single and the Bobcat lead grew to 6-3. Hill handed the game off to the bullpen in the sixth and the Cougars added a run before Devin McCullough recorded the final out. C of O added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth with an Aaron Fisher double, and a Caleb Johnson RBI single. That insurance run became evaluable in the top of the seventh as the Cougars threatened. With two St. Xavier runs crossing the plate, Colin Pyatt came on to close out the game. Pyatt induced a flyball to right to secure the final out and the Bobcats took the game 7-6.
Caleb Johnson led the offense with three hits, and Aaron Fisher (2B) added two. Rhett Hill, Trey Riley, Tyas Rush, and Brody Baumann (2B) each added a hit in the win.
C of O vs St. Xavier – Friday, March 10 – Game 2
Hoping to continue the momentum from the Thursday night game, Brody Baumann took the mound for the Bobcats in game two of the series. Both teams went down in order in the first inning and a Cougar double was offset by a Rhett Hill single in the second, but neither team could score. A trio of singles in the third put the Cougars on the board, and the Bobcats came to the plate trailing 1-0. The deficit was short-lived however, as the Bobcats used a Blake Hultgren single and an error to set up an RBI single off the bat of Caleb Johnson. With the score tied 1-1 in the fourth, St. Xavier went to work again and pushed three runs across to open a 4-1 lead. The Bobcats responded with a run with a Trey Riley double and an RBI single by Spencer Greene. Ty Rush singled to keep the inning going but he was left stranded. The Cougars added a run in the fifth and the Bobcats were in a 5-2 hole. The rest of the game was a pitcher’s duel as Kole Jenks came on in relief to finish for the Bobcats. A Trey Riley single would be the extent of the Bobcat offense down the stretch and the Cougars took the game 5-2.
Trey Riley led the offense with a pair of hits while Caleb Johnson, Spencer Greene, Rhett Hill, and Blake Hultgren each added a hit to the cause.
C of O vs St. Xavier – Friday, March 10 – Game 3
With weather creating doubt that a fourth game of the series would be played, the tiebreaking game three became more important to both teams. The Bobcats sent Tyler Buchanan to the mound with hopes of clinching the series win. Buchanan shutdown the Cougars in the first two innings and the only Bobcat offense came from a Spencer Greene double in the bottom of the second. St. Xavier struck first with a pair of runs in the third and the Bobcats came to the plate needing to answer. A Caden Kauffman leadoff single started things off, and a groundout followed by a wild pitch moved him to third. A ground out to first gave Chuck Hill an RBI and the lead was cut in half, 2-1. The Bobcats needed a two out rally to extend the inning. A Cougar error opened the door and put Ryan Daggs aboard. Rhett Hill doubled to put runners on the corners and Caleb Johnson doubled to drive in a pair of runs. Now holding a 3-2 lead. Trey Riley added a single to score Johnson, and the Bobcats took a 4-2 lead to the fourth. Buchanan held the Cougars in check through five, and the Bobcats were limited to a Zane Kelley double in the bottom of the fourth. The Bobcats went back to work in the bottom of the fifth with a Rhett Hill blast for a homerun and a Caleb Johnson single. Spencer Greene added an RBI single and the lead grew to 6-2, after five. Colin Pyatt and Spencer Greene combined to pitch, closing the door the rest of the way. The Bobcats took, what turned out to be the final game of the series, 6-2.
Rhett Hill (2B, HR), Caleb Johnson, and Spencer Greene (2B, 2B) recorded two hits each and Chuck Hill (2B), Trey Riley, Caden Kauffman, and Zane Kelley (2B) each added one hit in the win.
The Bobcats are slated to play Baptist Bible College in a home and away series this Thursday and Friday. Games will be played at US Ballpark in Ozark Thursday and Coach Bob Smith Field on Friday. Game times are scheduled for 12:00 and 2:00 both days.