Ouachita Baptist splits a pair with Arkansas Tech

FROM PRESS RELEASE

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Chase Baran had his stuff working to help salvage a Gulf South Conference West Division doubleheader split Saturday afternoon as the 21st-ranked Ouachita Baptist baseball team dropped the opener, 7-6 to Arkansas Tech, but bounced back in a big way with a 14-1 victory at Tech Field.

Baran (8-1) surrendered a run on three hits — losing the no hitter in the bottom of the fifth. He finished with nine strikeouts and five walks.

The Tigers (37-9 overall, 8-5 GSC West) got things going early and often against the Wonder Boys in the first inning of the second contest.

Justin Pennell reached on a one-out in the first inning. He stole second and took third on a throwing error by Justin Bollig, the Arkansas Tech catcher. Jim Streicher walked and Rudy Jovanovski ripped a base hit to right center to score Pennell. Destan Makonnen moved Streicher to third on a sacrifice fly to center. Drew Maus, who was 3-for-5, plated Pennell on a single through the right side to give Ouachita Baptist a 2-0 lead.

The Tigers struck for more in the second inning to jump out to a 6-0 advantage.

Drew Wurzelbacher belted a 1-0 pitch by Wonder Boy starter Tyler Mattox over the right field wall to begin the frame. Blake Lockwood reached on a one-out walk and took second when Pennell grounded out to second. Streicher followed with a double to left. Jovanovski, who went 2-for-4, doubled down the left field line, scoring Streicher easily. Makonnen followed with a high fly ball, which the wind took, to shallow center, plating Jovanovski for the final run of the inning. In the third, the Tigers added to the margin by plating three more runs.

Chad Taylor walked and stole second. He scored when Wuzelbacher’s grounder to second when through Jantzen Black’s legs and into right center. Lockwood was hit by a pitch with two outs. He stole second, took third and scored on throwing errors on the play. Pennell followed with a blast over the wall in right to give Ouachita Baptist a 9-0 lead.

Arkansas Tech (19-17, 7-6) plated a run in the bottom of the fifth to cut the deficit to 9-1. However, Ouachita Baptist responded by scoring five runs to grab a 14-1 lead.

Jovanovski and Makonnen drew back-to-back walks with one out. Maus ripped a base hit to left center to score Jovanovski and Makonnen came around when Taylor singled to right center. Wurzelbacher was hit by a pitch to load the bases. JoeDan Poulter followed with a very long base hit to the wall in left to score Maus.

After a pitching change, Lockwood reached on an infield hit as Taylor and Wurzelbacher scored. Lockwood moved to second and Poulter to third on a throwing error.

Mattox (2-2) started on the mound for Arkansas Tech, surrendering six runs on six hits with two walks and a pair of strikeouts. Blake Bailey gave up three runs on one hit with a strikeout in an inning of relief. Also working in relief was Barrett Davis, Caleb Powers and Chad Knight.

After a scoreless and intense first inning in the opener, the Tigers got things started by scoring a run with outs in the second inning.

Chad Taylor reached on a two-out bunt and took second on an error by Tony Sanchez at third. Maus plated Taylor with a double to left center to give Ouachita Baptist a 1-0 lead.

The margin was extended in the third when Lockwood reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second. He scored on a two-out base hit to left center by Streicher. Jovanovski hit a bloop single to center and both scored when Makonnen doubled down the right field line.

Pennell walked to begin the fifth and stole second. He took third on a sacrifice fly by Streicher. After Jovanovski walked, he attempted to take second, but Pennell scored to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead. However, Arkansas Tech plated three in the bottom of the frame to cut the deficit to 5-3.

Back came Ouachita Baptist in the top of the seventh as JoeDan Poulter belted a 3-1 pitch by Wonder Boy starting pitcher Zach Weiss over the left field wall to give the Tigers a 6-3 advantage.

The Wonder Boys, much like what North Alabama did to Ouachita Baptist on Tuesday, rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth to get the win.

Sanchez laced a base hit up the middle with one out and advanced all the way to third on a double down the left field line by Jantzen Black. Jonathan Houston followed by belting a three-run, game-tying homer to right center off Tiger starter Steve Smith.

After a pitching, Justin Bollig singled to right center. Brad Green flied out to center for the second out, but Tyler Kellar singled through the left side and Austin Gwatney singled to right, scoring Tyler Tate, who pinch ran for Bollig to give Arkansas Tech a 7-6 win.

Steve Smith pitched 8 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on 14 hits with eight strikeouts. Alex Smith (3-1) gave up a run on three hits.

Weiss pitched seven innings, surrendering six runs on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Cody Taylor (3-3) worked two innings of relief by giving up a hit, while fanning one.

Ouachita Baptist concludes the three-game Gulf South Conference West Division series 1:00 p.m., Sunday, April 13 at Tech Field against Arkansas Tech. The game can be heard on the Ouachita Baptist athletic Web site at: www.obutigers.com