Eagles get a ‘statement’ win, take series with 7-5 win at No. 15 St. Mary’s
SAN ANTONIO (April 26, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian served notice on Saturday that the Eagles will have to be contended with in the coming years in the Heartland Conference.
A.J. Florence, Robert Rosser and Jordan Lopez each had two RBIs and closer Dillon Endecott tied two school records with his ninth save as OC beat No. 15-ranked St. Mary’s (Texas) 7-5 at Dickson Stadium, giving the Eagles a 2-1 series win over a traditional NCAA Division II and conference powerhouse.
OC (28-15, 16-11 Heartland) remained in fourth place in the league standings, one game behind St. Mary’s (31-16, 17-10). But in the Division II South Central Region rankings, in which OC entered the series at No. 7, it would seem likely OC will jump ahead of the Rattlers, who came at No. 6 in the region.
The Eagles won the series opener 8-3 before falling 2-0 in the second game, setting up Saturday’s showdown. OC has recorded its most wins in a season since reviving the baseball program in 2008 and its most wins in any season since finishing 35-22 in 1998 under longtime coach Johnny Inman.
“That was a big series win,” OC coach Lonny Cobble said. “We were looking for a statement series win and got a huge one on the road. I’m very proud of this entire team.
“Robert Rosser had some big hits. Our bullpen stepped up again and was almost flawless and we had great starts from (Brandon) Pierce, (Luke) Sandoval and (Kacy) Cook. It was just an impressive performance.”
On Saturday, with OC trailing 2-1 in the fourth inning, Cory Eastwood’s RBI single scored Cameron Keener to tie the game before Florence contributed a two-run single to right field to put the Eagles ahead. Rosser singled home Lopez and Blake Stringer in the top of the fifth, giving the Eagles a 6-2 lead against St. Mary’s starter Matt McClain (7-4).
Cook ran into trouble in the bottom of the fifth, giving up two runs. Ryan Nash (2-0) relieved him and gave up a run-scoring triple to Brooks Orton – who went 4-for-5 – but retired the next two batters to end the threat a preserve a 6-4 lead for OC.
The teams each scored once in the sixth, leaving OC up 7-5. Then the Eagles’ bullpen took over. Dylon Sturges allowed one hit in two innings, then Eddie Broll pitched a perfect eighth inning, setting the stage for Endecott, who gave up a one-run single but retired the Rattlers’ final two batters to tie Chris Burgess – who had nine saves last season – atop OC’s single-season and career saves chart.
Five Eagles finished with two hits each – Florence, Lopez, Rosser, Garrett Stephenson and Eastwood.
The Eagles will close league play next weekend with a series at last-place Oklahoma Panhandle State, while St. Mary’s will host Texas A&M International. OC is a game ahead of fifth-place Newman (Kan.), which will host Arkansas-Fort Smith next weekend. OC isn’t eligible for the Heartland Conference tournament, in which the four top eligible teams will compete.