OKLAHOMA CITY (March 1, 2013) – The plan was for Dillon Andrews to just get on base and let his teammates bring him around. Instead, he took care of everything with one swing.
Andrews’ solo home run over the right-field fence in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted Oklahoma Christian to a 2-1 win over Central Methodist (Mo.) on a chilly Friday afternoon at Dobson Field in the Eagles’ baseball home opener.
Andrews also had an RBI single as OC (6-5) completed a doubleheader sweep with a 5-2 win in the second game.
The Eagles received strong pitching in both games. Cale Coshow allowed just one run in seven innings in the first game and closer Chris Burgess (2-0) picked up the win with two innings of shutout ball. In the second game, Luke Sandoval (2-0) threw six strong innings before Burgess retired Central Methodist in order in the seventh inning to record his second save.
“We pitched great,” OC coach Lonny Cobble said. “Our pitching staff, we have all these starters and then our closer and they’re eating up all the innings. Our middle guys are kind of sitting around looking at each other. It’s good that we’re getting good starting pitching that’s keeping us in games, then we’ve got a closer who comes in and has been unhittable so far. I just hope those middle guys don’t get rusty sitting over there just watching.”
Central Methodist (0-2), picked to finish fifth in the preseason Heart of America Athletic Conference poll, hung close with the Eagles in both games.
In the opener, a pair of Central Methodist left-handers, Drew Greiwe and Rhett Quinlan, dueled with Coshow, combining on a two-hitter. While Coshow allowed two hits and struck out eight, Greiwe fanned nine in five innings and Quinlan (0-1) struck out two in three innings. OC didn’t record a hit until Caden Cleveland’s single in the eighth inning.
“They really kept us off-balance,” Cobble said. “Cale threw strikes and kept us in the game. I felt sorry for Cale, because this is the second game in a row that’s he’s gone out and thrown really well and we just don’t score him any runs. He got a loss in one of those and a no-decision in another and he possibly should have two wins.”
OC went up 1-0 in the second inning. Jordan Lopez walked with one out, stole second base and went to third on an error by Central Methodist centerfielder Shane Lowe. With two outs, Cleveland was hit by a pitch. Cleveland soon was caught in an inning-ending rundown, but he prolonged it long enough for Lopez to scamper across home plate.
Central Methodist tied the game in the third. Neil Hansen reached second when OC left fielder Markus Carr misplayed Hansen’s fly ball and scored on a single by Mike Wagner. Central Methodist loaded the bases with two outs, but Coshow fanned T.J. Singh to end the threat.
Andrews led off the ninth for the Eagles with instructions to find a way to get on base.
“Coach told me I was going to get on and we were going to bunt me over and then bunt me in,” Andrews said. “I was like, ‘You know what? I’m just going to swing at anything close.’ It wasn’t close, but I put a good bat on it and got it really high and the wind just carried it out.”
It was only his third career home run at OC and his first since the 2011 season. He said it was the first walk-off homer of his career.
In the second game, the Eagles snapped a 2-2 tie with a three-run third inning. OC’s first four batters reached base against Central Methodist starter Colby Stack (0-1) . The Eagles picked up sacrifice flies from Caleb Price and Cleveland as well as a run-scoring single from Andrews.
That was enough for Sandoval, who scattered five hits in six innings, walking one and striking out three. Burgess fanned two batters in the seventh inning.
“The hits did come a little bit easier in the second game, thank goodness,” Cobble said. “We’ve just got to see repetition and get out there. We can make excuses for a lot of things, but we’re just not putting the ball in play enough.”
OC and Central Methodist will play another doubleheader on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m.