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Ouachita Baptist prepares for D-2 CWS


ARKADELPHIA – The Ouachita Baptist baseball team will begin its quest for an NCAA Division II College World Series title starting 2:30 p.m., Sunday, May 25 against Mount Olive in the opening round of the tournament at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill.

The Tigers (47-14) have won four straight after falling in the Gulf South Conference Tournament to Southern Arkansas. Ouachita Baptist reached the collegiate World Series for the first time in school history by using dominate pitching and solid hitting throughout the NCAA Division II South Central Regional last week in Cleveland, Miss.

Ouachita Baptist opened the tournament with a complete-game performance by Steve Smith as the Tigers knocked off Southern Arkansas, 5-2. The following day, Chase Baran held Abilene Christian to five runs, while the Tigers’ offense exploded for five runs in the ninth to beat the Wildcats, 10-5 to advance to the winner’s bracket final against Delta State.

Trent Lingle got the surprising start from head coach Scott Norwood and he didn’t disappoint, holding the Statesmen offense at bay long enough as the Tiger bats remained hot by giving Lingle plenty of run support through two innings and Ouachita Baptist on top, 13-1. Delta State climbed back into the game, but never got closer than four runs and Destan Makonnen’s 22nd home run gave the Tigers a 19-14 lead. Alex Smith and Jerry Helferich held Delta State down the stretch to get the win.

Playing for the first time in a South Central Regional final, Ouachita Baptist proved why it remained the only unbeaten team in the tournament. Jarod Hershberger, making just his first start in a month, took a perfect game into the fifth. His performance, along with the offense remaining hot, gave the Tigers a 5-1 lead going into the eighth.

The Tigers went to the bullpen with two on and one out in the top of the eighth as Steve Smith recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the Statesmen threat. Ouachita Baptist plated three in the bottom of the frame and Smith gave up a two-out hit in the ninth, but got the final batter looking to give the Tigers their first-ever NCAA Division II South Central Regional Championship.

Ouachita Baptist will look to continue its hot streak 2:30 p.m., Sunday, May 25 against Mount Olive in the opening round of the NCAA Division II College World Series. Two-time defending National Champion Tampa will meet Ashland in the other game, 6:30 p.m., on Sunday. The two winners will play 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 27, while the loser’s meet in elimination game at 2:30.

The NCAA Division II College World Series game between Ouachita Baptist and Mount Olive will be available to listen to and watch through live stats on the Ouachita Baptist athletic Web site at:

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