USAO News Bureau, www.usao.edu
Four runs, nine innings and a diving catch later, the Drovers claim the first victory in the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament, overtaking No. 18 Rogers State 4-3.
The game went down to the wire and was described by Coach Mike Ross as a nail biter.
“It was just a great game. It’s what post-season baseball is all about,” Ross said. “That’s what you play for is for games like this. We just have to come out and do it again tomorrow.”
Game two of the tournament for the Drovers will be against No. 8 Oklahoma Baptist at 6 p.m. Thursday at Bison Field.
The Drovers started off with a quick run when the second Drover batter, Jared Coon, scored off an RBI double by first baseman Zach Gonzalez.
RSU tied it up in the bottom of the first, but the Drovers again took the lead in the next inning with a score by Brian Vigo. Third baseman Heath Wilda grabbed a third USAO run the following inning.
Entering the fifth up 3-2, Coon singled to right field to score Konrad Mueller. With four runs, the Drovers gave up a third run to the Hillcats in the bottom of the eighth.
The Drovers were in some trouble in the bottom of the ninth with two outs under their belts. The Hillcats had center fielder Eric Baker on second when Colton Campbell hit a ball in left center, right in between Drover outfielders, but USAO’s center fielder Romus Cezar grabbed the diving catch to end the game and give the Drovers the 4-3 victory.
Seth Sturgeon pitched the complete nine innings against the Hillcats and allowed just two earned runs against the high-powered RSU hitters.
The Drovers advance to 28-19 overall. The tournament is played pool-style. The Drovers will face OBU on Thursday at 6 p.m. and Saint Gregory’s at 2 p.m. Friday. The winner of the pool will advance to the SAC Championship on Saturday.