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Bobcats Sting Valor for Road Win

Feb 20, 2024

#29 Spencer Greene

#7 Ty Rush

C of O Baseball vs Evangel

Springfield, MO – The College of the Ozarks Baseball Bobcats were excited about a 65+ degree day in February to step on the diamond in Springfield, Missouri. Making the short drive north to face the Evangel Valor in a single, nine-inning game, the Cats were looking to add to the success of the young season.

After a Caleb Johnson walk was left aboard in the top of the first, the Bobcats sent Brody Baumann to the bump to face the Valor lineup. Two quick outs were followed by a Valor single and a stolen base, but a groundout stranded the runner, and the Bobcats came in to grab the lumber. The bats were silenced for both teams in the second and the Bobcats went down in order in the top of the third. The Valor broke through in the bottom of the third with a double and a single to take a 1-0 lead, and the game moved to the fourth.  A Caleb Johnson leadoff walk started the offense for the Bobcats and a Spenser Green drive over the left field wall swung the lead the other way. Ty Rush followed with a double and with one out, Hunter Lewis was hit by a pitch. The Bobcats had something going and were looking for another big hit. A double steal with two outs moved the runners to second and third, but a strikeout ended the threat, and the Bobcats would settle for the two runs off the blast by Greene. Baumann pitched around a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning by inducing a pair of groundballs, one for a fielder’s choice, the other for a double play. The Bobcats looked to add to the lead in the top of the fifth and started the offense with a walk to Jake Leeker. After Leeker was caught stealing, Chuck Hill and Caleb Johnson singled, but the Cats were unable to push them across the plate. The Valor bats game to life with two outs in the bottom of the fifth when a single and a double scored the tying run. A Homerun added another pair of tallies and Evangel took a 4-2 lead to the sixth. The Bobcats needed to respond to the Valor outburst and Ty Rush started the rally with a single to right. The next three Cats went down in order however, and Baumann headed back to the mound. Neither team would generate offense again until the Bobcats opened the eighth inning with a double off the bat of Spencer Greene. A walk to Rhett Hill was followed by a Valor miscue and the runners moved to second and third. Ty Rush slashed a two-RBI single to right center and the score was tied 4-4, with nobody out. Another Valor error put Hunter Lewis aboard and the Cats had runners at first and second with one out. A walk to Aaron Fisher loaded the bases and the Bobcats were on the verge of reclaiming the lead. With two outs and the bases jammed, Chuck Hill delivered a two-RBI single to right and the Bobcats took the 6-4 advantage. The Bobcats weren’t finished as Hill swiped second, forcing an error that allowed Fisher to score. Caleb Johnson smacked a single to right to add another tally before a fly out ended the inning. The pressure was now on the Valor as the Bobcats claimed the 8-4 lead. Weston Whiteside took over the pitching duties and pitched around a walk in the bottom of the eighth with a groundout and a double play. The Bobcats went down in order in the top of the ninth, and Whiteside returned to the hill just three outs away from the rod win. An error and a walk with one out gave the Valor some hope and the Bobcats needed outs. Spencer Greene came on to pitch in relief and he was looking for the final two outs. Greene quickly recorded a strikeout, and the Valor were down to their last out. Greene induced a fly out to right and the Bobcats secured the 8-4 win.

The Bobcat offense came from four guys with multiple key hits with Ty Rush (2B) piling on three hits, and Spencer Greene (HR, 2B) Caleb Johnson, and Chuck Hill adding two hits each. Rush, Greene, and Hill each drove in a pair of runs and Johnson added one RBI to his total.

The Bobcats now have some well-deserved time off before they host Ecclesia College for a doubleheader on Tuesday, February 27. Game times are 1:00 and 3:00 at Coach Bob Smith Field.