Eagles rally to knock off NAIA No. 5 Rogers State 8-7

Jordan Lopez doubled and scored in the decisive three-run eighth inning as OC edged Rogers State 8-7.
Jordan Lopez doubled and scored in the decisive three-run eighth inning as OC edged Rogers State 8-7.

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 15, 2013) – Jordan Lopez doubled and scored to key a three-run eighth-inning rally by Oklahoma Christian, lifting the Eagles to an 8-7 win over NAIA No. 5-ranked Rogers State on a warm Friday night at Dobson Field.

OC (14-8) won for the eighth time in nine games, beating last season’s NAIA runner-up and posting arguably the biggest win in Lonny Cobble’s first season as the Eagles’ coach.

The Eagles prevailed despite surrendering a six-run inning to Rogers State (19-5), which outscored OC 27-11 in a three-game sweep last season.

“I’m really proud of our kids,” Cobble said. “There were a lot of peaks and valleys in tonight’s game and I thought we grew from it. I’m glad for last year’s guys. They really wanted this win. I just want them to finish the week off on a positive. I like the way we hung together.”

OC jumped on Rogers State reliever Kyle Duncan for five runs and seven hits in the bottom of the fourth. After Dillon Andrews and Garrett Guys singled, Blake Stringer doubled to left-center field and Sean Murphy’s bunt for a basehit scored Guys to make it 2-0. Caden Cleveland followed with a two-run single and Garrett Stephenson added another RBI single to give the Eagles a 5-0 lead.

The Hillcats answered with their six-run inning in the top of the fourth against OC starter Cale Coshow, keyed by a three-run double by Eric Baker.

Stephenson started the Eagles’ eighth-inning rally against reliever Brandon Bargas (4-2) by reaching on an error by shortstop Jose Olazagasti. Cory Eastwood singled Stephenson home to tie the game, then stole second base and scored on Lopez’s double. After Markus Carr reached on an infield single, Lopez scored on a throwing error by third baseman Tyler Wheeler, making it 8-6.

That insurance run proved big in the top of the ninth. Rogers State’s Cody Campbell doubled off OC closer Chris Burgess and scored on an error by Stephenson. But Burgess (3-0) slammed the door on the Hillcats with three strikeouts in the inning, fanning Ramcy Lora with the potential tying run on second to end the game.

Burgess had four strikeouts in two innings of work. Stephenson and Dillon Andrews each went 3-for-4 to pace OC’s 14-hit attack.

The Eagles will continue their homestand Saturday, hosting East Central in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.