The College of the Ozarks Baseball Bobcats continued their tough 2021 schedule on Thursday afternoon when they hosted the NAIA No. 10 ranked Eagles of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Also ranked No. 2 in the NCCAA polls, the Eagles brought their 22-3 record to Coach Bob Smith Field.
The Bobcats gave the Eagles all they wanted in game one. Spencer Greene took the mound for the Bobcats and cruised through the first inning in 1-2-3 fashion. The Bobcats went down in order as well and we had the start of a solid pitching matchup. The Eagles put those ideas to rest in the second inning as Danny Perez launched a leadoff homerun to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. A one-out single, a hit batsman, and a walk would set the stage for another single and tally to make it 2-0. A bases loaded walk brought in the third run for the Eagles and although Greene struck out the side, the Bobcats went to the bottom of the second trailing 3-0. Knowing momentum is key, the Bobcats answered the challenge in their half of the second. Dawson Nimmo and Neco Lopez led off the inning with back to back singles. With one out, Lincoln Rasmussen followed with an RBI single to left to put the Bobcats on the board. One out later, it was up to Andrew Martinez to keep the inning alive. Martinez lifted a ball into shallow right center for a single and an RBI single and the Bobcats were down by a single run. The next batter was retired and so were the Bobcats, but the one run deficit seemed much more manageable. The Bobcats made a pitching change and Colin Pyatt came on in relief. After a leadoff single and a walk, Pyatt settled in and retired the next three Eagle batters. The Bobcats could not seem to figure out the OKWU pitcher and base running opportunities were elusive. Pyatt, Tyler Buchanan, and Neco Lopez would finish the game on the mound for the Bobcats and keep the Eagle bats silenced. The Bobcats were held hitless the rest of the game and the Eagles held on to win 3-2.
The Bobcats had hits by Dawson Nimmo, Lincoln Rasmussen, and Neco Lopez in game one of the doubleheader.
Game two started off as another pitcher’s duel and both teams struggled to get baserunners. The only offence in the first came off a Neco Lopez two-out single, but the Bobcats could’t capitalize and left him stranded. The Eagles threatened to break through in the second inning with back-to-back singles to lead-off the frame. Bobcat pitcher Tad Jones buckled down and retired the next three batters and the Eagles were shutdown. The Bobcats had back to back two-out singles by Max Pulley and Caleb Johnson in the third inning, but the next Bobcat batter was retired, and the game remained scoreless. Both sides remained silent in the fourth, still no score. The fifth inning started like the others. Tad Jones recorded two quick outs before the sun wreaked havoc on a fly ball in center and a two-run homer gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead. A leadoff walk for Andrew Martinez in the Bobcat fifth was left stranded and the score remained 2-0. The Eagles used a walk and an error to add an insurance run in the sixth and led 3-0 headed to the bottom half. A leadoff walk to Caleb Johnson in the sixth was erased on a fielder’s choice and the Bobcats could not generate the much-needed offense. The Eagles were retired in order in the seventh and the stage was set for a Bobcat comeback. Rhett Hill led off the seventh inning with a walk followed by an Andrew Martinez hit by pitch. After a mound visit by the Eagles coaching staff, the next three Bobcats were retired via the strike out and Oklahoma Wesleyan preserved the 3-0 win.
Max Pulley, Neco Lopez, and Caleb Johnson led the way at the plate as each contributed a single.
The Bobcats will be back in action Tuesday, April 6 at 3:00 as they host William Woods for a single 9 inning game.