Baseball opens new era with victory
Friday, February 15, 2008
By Tracy Washam
The Eagle baseball program started the season off right with a 5-4 win over Peru State College (Neb.) at Dobson Field.
It was Oklahoma Christian' University's first baseball game since the 2001 season. Junior transfer Tyler Sutton started on the Mound for the Eagles.
"It was pretty nerve wracking to have the first start in seven years," Sutton said. "But I was just so pumped that I tried not to let it really get to me."
With the game tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth, Oklahoma Christian's Josh Balch hit a sacrifice fly into right field that scored freshman Ryan Harper. The run was the difference in the game as Riley Jones shut down Peru State in the top of the seventh on three straight groundballs to shortstop.
"We put some good hits together at the right times," Harper said. "That is how you win games."
Freshman Jeff Davis had the first hit of the new Oklahoma Christian baseball era on a line drive single to right field in the bottom of the second. Davis came around to score a batter later when Tyler Gipson knocked a double to center field.
Peru State took a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth on hits by Will Hays and Austin Reisig, but Jones gave up only two hits and struck out two over the final three frames to secure the win.
"I was real proud of our guys this weekend," head baseball coach Chuck White said. "We have some things to work on but that's to be expected, all in all the guys played great."
Gipson finished the game 2-for-3 with two doubles, a RBI and a run scored. Quaid Johns also had a 2-for-3 day at the plate with two singles.
Game two of the doubleheader ended in a 14-14 tie due to darkness. Peru State led 7-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, but Oklahoma Christian came back with five in the bottom of the inning to tie the score.
Adam Richison led off the frame with a walk and scored on a double by Chris Miller. After singles from Harper and Ray Long, Jordan Price hit a hard single which went past the centerfielder and trickled all the way to the wall. Harper and Long scored standing up, and after a wild relay throw, Price touched home to tie the game.
"The second game was a real challenge for us, but a good one," White said. "We need to know that we can come back from behind and our guys proved that."
The Bobcats scored six runs in the seventh, but Oklahoma Christian put two on the board in the bottom of the seventh to set up the tie in the final half inning.
Nick Hollrah started the comeback with a solo homerun to left field to make it 14-10. Hollrah's homer was the first by an Oklahoma Christian player since 2001.
The next two batters were retired, before Long beat out an infield hit to keep the game going. Hits from Price and Jay White led to a Josh Henry walk. Tyler Gipson then hit a routine ground ball, but the second baseman booted the play, allowing Henry and White to tie the score.
"It's always exciting to play a close game," Harper said. "I think our team is going to be able to play well under pressure which is very comforting to know early in the season."
Miller grounded out to short stop to end the inning and the umpiring crew deemed the skies to dark to continue playing.
Hollrah finished game two 4-for-5 at the plate with three singles and a homerun.
The Eagles will play again on Friday at 1 p.m. in a doubleheader against York College (Neb.). The two teams will play another doubleheader beginning at noon on Saturday.