Diamond Cats Clinch Spot in Opening Round Title Game
CLAREMORE, Okla.-The Rogers State baseball team advanced to the NAIA Opening Round-Claremore Bracket championship game on Friday afternoon with a 16-2 victory over third seeded Lyon (Ark.).
It was all Hillcats from start to finish in game five of the tournament. The Hillcats banged out 15 hits, eight of them coming in the first frame. All nine starters tallied at least one hit on the afternoon. RSU registered eight runs in the first frame and never looked back.
Hector Rivera drew a one-out walk to start the first frame for the Hillcats. Jose Olazagasti drove Rivera in with triple to the wall in right-center field. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Cody Campbell to make it a 2-0 game. With two outs, Wheeler singled through the right side of the infield, Cody Campbell drew a walk and they both scored on a triple belted to deep right field by Brandon Bargas. Emmanuel De La Cruz followed with a double to right-field, allowing Bargas to score. RSU tallied four more singles, including, RBI singles by Keith Poverud, Eric Baker and Olazagasti.
Poverud hit a RBI fielder’s choice in the bottom of the second and Cody Campbell scored on a wild pitch in the fourth to push the lead to 10-0. The Scots dented the scoreboard in the top of the fifth with one run on three hits but the Hillcats answered in the bottom of the inning with a trio of runs.
Each team added a run in the sixth and after a scoreless seventh, RSU plated a pair of runs in the eighth to seal the 16-2 win.
Colton Campbell tied the single-season doubles record in the eighth inning. The senior from St. Cloud, Fla. has 19 doubles on the season to tie the record Baker set during the 2012 season.
Olazagasti and De La Cruz tallied two hits apiece to lead the Cats at the plate. Four Hillcats saw time on the mound for RSU with starter Jesse Baird (3-2) earning the win. The junior from Verdigris, Okla. allowed two earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts.
Brandon Haller (8-3) was tagged with the loss as he tossed just two thirds of an inning and allowed seven runs on five hits.
Rogers State (34-22) will play the winner of top-seeded Lubbock Christian (Texas) and third-seeded Lyon (Ark.) at 5 p.m. at the Diamond Sports Complex on RSU's Claremore campus. All the games at the NAIA Opening Round-Claremore Bracket will be streamed online at www.rsuhillcats.com/live.