The College of the Ozarks Baseball Bobcats ventured away from Coach Bob Smith Field for their first road trip of the season Friday, to take on the Red Lions of Lincoln Christian University, in Lincoln IL.
Max Pulley tried to get the offense rolling in the first inning as he led off with a single. With one out, Pulley stole second, but was left stranded. Spencer Greene went to the mound for the Bobcats, and he was greeted with two quick runs by the home team. LCU used three singles, a walk and a fielder’s choice to give them the 2-0 lead after one. Lincoln Rasmussen led off the Bobcat second with a walk. A pair of ground outs moved the runner to third and a wild throw by the LCU first baseman allowed the first Bobcat run to score, cutting the lead to 2-1. Greene retired the Red Lions in order in the bottom of the second and the Bobcats came to bat looking for an offensive spark. Max Pulley stepped up in the top of the third to try to ignite the offense. With one out, Pulley ripped a double to the right center field gap. Zack Ford moved Pulley to third with a single and Ryan Daggs drove a ball to deep center for a sacrifice fly. Pulley scored and Daggs picked up the first Bobcat RBI of the game and the score was tied at two. Greene made quick work of the Red Lions in their half of the third with another 1-2-3 inning. Lincoln Rasmussen led off the fourth with a deep drive to left field for a double. The Bobcats were unable to string more hits together and another runner was left on base. Greene found his groove on the mound and set the Red Lions down in order once again in the fourth. Neco Lopez led off the Bobcat fifth and launched a 1-1 pitch over the left field fence to give the Bobcats a 3-2 lead. The next three hitters were retired, but the Bobcats headed to the bottom of the fifth leading 3-2.
Greene continued his strong performance in the bottom of the fifth and retired the first two red Lions he faced in the inning. He gave up a two-out single to Blake Shaiper but retired the next LCU batter with a groundout to first. Lincoln Rasmussen worked his way to a one out walk in the top of the sixth. His courtesy runner, Zac Salyers, stole second and Dawson Nimmo ripped an RBI single to right center to score Salyers and build the Bobcat lead to 4-2. After a pop out to right, Seth Stamps entered the game as a pinch runner for Nimmo and stole second. Caleb Johnson drew a two-out walk and the Bobcats were threatening to add to their 2-run lead. The rally was squelched, however, when Stamps was thrown out on the base paths. Greene gave up another single in the bottom of the sixth but stranded that runner and the Bobcats took their 4-2 lead to the seventh. Neco Lopez led off the Bobcat seventh with a walk and stole second. Zach Ford drilled a single through the hole at short to bring in Lopez, and the Bobcats lead was 5-2. Ford stole second and Chandler Tidwell walked. Ford advanced to third and came home on a double steal, giving the Bobcats a 6-2 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh. LCU refused to go down without a fight in the seventh and with one out, produced back-to-back singles. A fly out to center would give Greene and the Bobcats two outs with two runners on for LCU. Things got interesting when the Red Lions moved up to second and third, but Greene induced a fly ball out to left and the Bobcats took game one 6-2.
Max Pulley and Zack Ford each had two hits. Lincoln Rasmussen, Dawson Nimmo, and Neco Lopez (HR) added a hit each, and Spencer Greene pitched a complete game for the Bobcat win.
The Bobcats looked to pick up where they left off from game one as they started game two. Max Pulley led off the game with a single but was caught stealing. Ryan Daggs hit a two-out single, but that’s all the offense the Bobcats could produce and Daggs was left stranded. Trenton Hyde went to the hill for the Bobcats to try and continue the winning ways. After a pop out to start the bottom of the first, Hyde struggled to find the strike zone and walked the next two Red Lions. He quickly regained his composure and struck out the next two batters to keep the score 0-0 after one. Lincoln Rasmussen led off the second reaching on a Red Lion Error. The next three Bobcat batters popped out and Rasmussen was left stranded. Hyde pitched around a one out walk in the bottom of the second to keep the game scoreless through two. Max Pulley continued swinging a hot bat in the top of the third and hit a one out double to the right center field gap. The next two Bobcats were retired, and the Bobcat threat was ended. The strike zone became elusive in the bottom of the third and the Red Lions capitalized on four walks, an error, a single, and a double to hang a five spot on the scoreboard. The Bobcats found themselves in a 5-0 hole to start the fourth inning. Spencer Greene singled to start the inning, but the next three Bobcats were set down to end the top half. Devin McCullough had finished off the bottom of the third on the mound for the Bobcats, then threw a three up-three down fourth. Chuck Hill led off the fifth with a walk and Andrew Martiniz singled to left-center. Max Pulley hit an RBI double down the left field line and the Bobcats were on the board. A couple of baserunning errors cut the inning, and the rally, short and the Bobcats trailed 5-1 heading to the bottom of the fifth. The Red Lions started off their half of the fifth with a Charles Jones single. The next three batters were retired, and Jones was left stranded. The Bobcats came to life on offense in the 6th inning. Ryan Daggs and Spencer Greene started the inning with back-to-back singles. Caleb Johnson reached base on an error by the Red Lion shortstop allowing Ryan Daggs to score. Chuck Hill then singled to center, driving in Greene. Caleb Johnson scored on another LCU error, and the Bobcats trailed by a run, 5-4, heading to the bottom of the sixth. A walk, a single, and a double by the Red Lions in their half of the inning made the score 6-4 with the Bobcats coming to bat. The Bobcats could not get another rally started and they went down in order in the seventh. Lincoln Christian took game two, 6-4.
The Bobcats were led by Max Pulley with three hits. Ryan Daggs and Spencer Greene each added a pair of hits and Chuck Hill and Andrew Martinez chipped in one hit each. Day two of the weekend series against the red Lions would be played on Saturday with games at noon and 2:00.