Ouachita Baptist advances to South Central Region Championship game.

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

CLEVELAND, Miss. –For the first time in school history, the 26th-ranked Ouachita Baptist baseball team is one win away from a spot in the NCAA Division II World Series as the Tigers raced out to a huge lead in defeating top-ranked Delta State , 19-14, during Sunday’s winner’s bracket final in the South Central Regional at Dave “Boo” Ferriss Field.

Ouachita Baptist plays again 1:00 p.m., Monday, May 19 during Championship Day. Delta State falls into the elimination game 8:00 p.m. against the winner of the Abilene Christian/Southern Arkansas game.

Delta State (47-10) struck first in the opening inning as Hunter Jobes singled to right to begin the frame and with one out, Tigers starting pitcher Trent Lingle hit back-to-back batters to load the bases and Chris Clark brought in Jobes with a sacrifice fly to center to give the Statesmen a 1-0 lead.

Ouachita Baptist (46-14) answered in the bottom of the inning by scoring six times to grab a 6-1 lead while knocking Delta State starter Justin Smith out of the game.

Blake Lockwood, who went 4-for-5, led off the inning with a base hit to right and Justin Pennell , who was 4-for-6, followed with a single up the middle. Jim Streicher reached on an infield hit and Rudy Jovanovski got on when Statesmen shortstop Devin Goodwin booted the ball, allowing Lockwood and Pennell to score.

Destan Makonnen, who was 3-for-5, followed with a base hit up the middle to plate Streicher. Chad Taylor beat out a high chopper to short out to score Jovanovski. With one out, Drew Maus, who went 2-for-4, ripped a double down the line in left to plate Makonnen. After a pitching change and a strikeout, Lockwood walked and Pennell drove in Taylor with a single through the left side. Maus was out at the plate to end the inning.

The Tigers exploded for seven more runs in the bottom of the second to jump out to a 13-1 lead.

In the second, Streicher led things off with an infield single and advanced to second on a walk to Jovanovski. With one out, Taylor walked to load the bases and Chandler Boyce reached on a fielder’s choice as Streicher was out at home.

Maus doubled to right center to score Taylor and Boyce. Drew Wurzelbacher, who went 2-for-5, followed with a double down the line in right to plate Maus. After a walk to Lockwood, Pennell belted an 0-1 pitch off reliever Nathan Hardy over the wall in right to give the Tigers a 13-1 advantage.

The Statesmen cut the margin to single digits, 13-4, in the top of the third as Delta State scored three times.

Clay Sartain homered to left – a two-run shot — to continue the Delta State rally.

However, the Tigers got a run back as Wurzelbacher singled with one out to right and moved to third on a double to right by Lockwood. Pennell scored Wurzelbacher with a ground out to second to give Ouachita Baptist a 14-6 advantage.

Delta State scored three runs off reliever Alex Smith in the top of the fifth to keep rallying from behind by cutting the deficit to 14-9.

Much like the Tigers have done in previous innings, Ouachita Baptist answered Delta State ’s output with three runs.

Jovanovski belted his 11th homer of the season on a 2-2 pitch over the right center wall to begin the bottom of the fifth. Makonnen reached on an error and Taylor walked. Boyce singled through the left side to load the bases. Maus flied out to right to plate Makonnen as Taylor also tagged up on the play. Lockwood followed with a single through the left side to plate Taylor , while Boyce stopped at third.

Makonnen made it an 18-9 lead with his team-leading and Gulf South Conference leading 22nd home run as he drilled the first pitch by Hardy over the right field wall with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.

The Statesmen got a run in the seventh, but that was all as Sartain bounced into a double play to end the inning.

Delta State continued to try to play catch up as the Statesemen used a four-run eighth to cut the Tiger lead to 18-14.

However, the Tigers added a run in the bottom of the eighth to take a 19-14 advantage into the ninth.

Lockwood singled to left and Pennell followed with a base hit to right to move Lockwood to third in the eighth. Streicher singled through the left side to plate Lockwood.

Lingle pitched 3 1/3 innings. He surrendered six runs (five earned) on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts. He also hit four batters. Alex Smith (4-2) worked 4 1/3 innings of relief. He gave up eight runs on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Jerry Helferich pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief.

Smith (6-5) pitched just a 1/3 of an inning. He was tagged for six runs (four earned) on six hits with one strikeout. Joey Haston surrendered five runs (four earned) on four hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings. Hardy pitched 5 1/3 innings. He surrendered seven runs (three earned) on eight hits. Marcus Wilson and Levi Bishop also pitched in relief.

Penn Atlantic serves as the host site as it was for the GSC Baseball Tournament but all fans need to do is log on to www.ncaa.com and follow the direct link on the website to catch the free broadcasts. There will also be a link from the GSC Website, www.gulfsouthconference.org, enabling fans to click in and catch the live action.

The Championship Day games will also be available to listen to on the Ouachita Baptist athletic Web site as well as viewed through live stats at: www.obutigers.com.