Bulldogs Hang On Over Hillcats, 8-6
LEWISTON, Idaho- The ninth-seeded Rogers State baseball team was unable to complete its third come-from-behind win at the Avista-NAIA World Series on Monday afternoon as it fell to the No. 4 seed Tennessee Wesleyan, 8-6, at Harris Field on the campus of Lewis-Clark State.
The Hillcats fell behind early as the Bulldogs strung together a trio of one-out hits to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. RSU pitcher Kyle Duncan worked out of a bases loaded jam to end the inning and minimize the damage.
Hector Rivera registered RSU’s first hit of the game in the fourth with a single up the middle. Rivera stole second and scored on a RBI single to shallow right field by Colton Campbell, knotting the score 1-1.
The Bulldogs answered in the bottom of the inning as they posted five runs to regain the lead. Drew Levi reached base on four consecutive balls with one out. Dale Ricketts followed with a RBI double to shallow left field and scored on a RBI single by Thomas Sicking. Travis Burnside hit an infield single and Anthony Boix was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Stephen Branca was also hit by a pitch to bring in a run and Jake Stone reached on an error that sent the final two runs of the inning home.
TWU added to its lead in the sixth as Jordan Guida belted a leadoff first-pitch home run over the left field fence, making it a 7-1 game.
The Cats clawed their way back into the contest in the sixth as Eric Baker drew a leadoff walk to start the inning. Colton Campbell grounded out to second and heads up base running by Baker put him on third base. With two outs, Lance Rymel was hit by a pitch and courtesy runner Taylor Estes stole second. Cody Campbell followed with a full count walk to load the bases. Randy Ramirez made his at bat count as he blasted a grand slam over the left field fence and cut the RSU deficit to 7-5. It was the senior’s third home run of the season.
In the top of the seventh Baker belted a two-out double down the left field line and reached third on a wild pitch. Rivera drove Baker home with a single through the right side of the infield and cut the Bulldogs lead to 7-6.
Dale Ricketts hit a RBI double to left field in the bottom of the seventh to push the Bulldogs lead to 8-6. Baker saved a run and ended the inning as he robbed Sicking of a hit with a diving catch in right-center field.
The Hillcats put a man on first in both the eighth and ninth innings but each frame ended with double play and no Hillcat runs.
Kyle Duncan (8-2) was tagged with the loss on the mound for RSU as he tossed four innings and gave up seven runs, six earned, on 10 hits with four strikeouts. Senior Tyler Garner tossed the following three innings and allowed one run on two hits with three strikeouts. Zack Williams pitched one third of an inning with one hit and one walk and Drew Taylor finished the final two thirds and allowed no runs and one walk.
Starting Pitcher Josh Culler (10-2) registered the win as he pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five runs on four hits with six strikeouts and three walks. Zach Fleshman tossed 2.2 innings and allowed one run on four hits with two strikeouts. Alfonso Yevoli finished the game and tallied his sixth save of the season.
Rymel and Rivera tallied two hits apiece to lead the team at the plate.
Rogers State (47-15) will return to action tomorrow as the Hillcats fall into the elimination bracket to play No. 7 Point Park (Pa.) at 12 p.m. Live audio will be streamed on the Hillcat Network at www.rsuhillcats.com/live.