OKLAHOMA CITY (March 18, 2014) – Oklahoma Baptist isn’t (yet) a NCAA Division II program, but the Bison long have been a NAIA baseball power, one that often has long held the upper hand in its series against Oklahoma Christian.
One result doesn’t constitute a sea change, but if games against quality foes can be used as a measuring stick, then OC’s 7-6 decision on Tuesday over the Bison at Dobson Field could be indicative of something positive for the Eagles.
Ranked ninth in the Division II South Central Region poll, OC (12-8) entered the nonconference game – its first against the Bison since the 2012 season – on a three-game skid, while Oklahoma Baptist had sprinted to a 23-1 start to this season and likely will be at or near the top of the NAIA rankings when they come out next week.
OC took an early lead and didn’t back down win OBU (23-2) challenged, thanks to timely hitting throughout and solid relief pitching late.
OBU led 1-0 after the first inning, but Blake Stringer’s solo home run in the second tied the game and the Eagles added three more runs in the third, two on a double by Robert Rosser off OBU starter Richard Lucas (2-1).
The Bison answered with two runs in the top of the fourth, but Cory Eastwood – who went 3-for-4 – had a run-scoring single for the Eagles in the bottom of the inning to make it 5-3.
OBU pulled within 5-4 in the sixth and again OC had a positive response. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Caden Cleveland (who also went 3-for-4) hit a solo home run, Caleb Price singled to center field and Eastwood followed with a RBI triple to make it 7-4.
Steven Knudson’s one-out, two-run double for OBU in the top of the seventh again made it a one-run game. But OC reliever Tyler Schuman (1-0) entered the game and wriggled out of the jam, then pitched a scoreless night before handing off to Dillon Endecott, who threw a perfect ninth inning to record his second save of the season.
The win over OBU was OC’s first since the 2011 season.