Clarksville, Ark. The Eagles let an early 2-0 lead slip away in a game one 9-4 loss and then couldn't provide any offense for starting pitcher Cory Briggs in a game two 5-2 loss Tuesday afternoon.
Ozarks (3-9) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning behind Jeremy Hogan’s two-run single. Hogan, who was also the starting pitcher, cruised through two and two-third innings before giving up a two-out homer in the top of the third. The Eagles extended their lead to 3-1 in the fourth on Logan Parsons’ run. However, the Crusaders (6-2) answered with three runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead for good. Clarke loaded the bases in the sixth inning and pushed across a pair of runs to go up 6-3 and things could have gotten worse for the Eagles, but centerfielder Chris Driedric ended the inning with a spectacular diving catch in right center. Ozarks got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning when Andrew Pelkey scored on a wild pitch. Clarke made an Ozarks’ comeback even tougher in the seventh when it added three runs.
Hogan (0-1) took the loss after tossing five innings. He struck out four. Hogan led Ozarks at the plate with a 2-for-4, 2-RBI performance.
Briggs fanned a career-high 11 and went seven innings only to see Ozarks’ offense collect six hits in a game two setback.
Briggs, who didn’t allow a base runner until the fifth inning, was dominant on the mound in just his second start of the season. Briggs sat down seven through four innings of work while the Eagles were no-hit during that span. The right-hander gave up a two-run homer in the fifth for the first runs of the game. He got into trouble in the sixth, allowing one run, but struck out the final two batters to end Clarke’s threat. The Eagles finally put runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth, with the first coming from Tad Turner run and the second coming on a Mike Schmeck RBI single. The Crusaders got to Briggs again in the seventh, scoring two runs, but he worked his way out of a jam by ending the inning with a double play. Ozarks went hitless in the seventh and eighth innings, and put two runners in scoring position in the ninth, but Clarke’s Justin Haas ended Ozarks’ opportunity to receive the save.
Briggs (0-1) took the loss.
Nick Brill went 2-for-4 to pace Ozarks at the plate.
Ozarks will travel to Brownwood, Texas, to face Howard Payne University in American Southwest Conference cross-over action this weekend.