Clarksville, Ark.-The Eagles scored two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to take a 8-7 win over University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in the first round of the American Southwest Conference best two-of-three tournament at Lonnie R. Qualls Field on Friday.
<#IMAGE:1#>The two teams will square off tomorrow in a nine-inning contest beginning at 11:00 a.m. The second game, if necessary, will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. Ozarks (23-18) went into the bottom of the ninth trailing 7-5 and Crusader (20-17) reliever Tanner Vaughan got Ozarks’ first batter to fly out. From there, things went the Eagles’ way as Cory Briggs struck out, but reached first on a dropped ball and then advanced to second on an errant throw by the catcher. Brad Broussard, who hadn’t played since March 17 due to an injury, came off the bench to pinch hit, and promptly delivered a single to center field to score Briggs. Arturo Perez pinch ran for the limping Broussard and advanced to second on a David Smith walk. John Glenn then hit into a fielder’s choice, moving Perez to third, and forcing Smith out at second. Glenn stole second to put a pair of Eagles in scoring position. Logan Kizer was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Trailing 7-6 with two outs, Bruce Cameron hit an infield blooper and beat out the play at first base, and advanced to second on an errant throw by the second baseman. Cameron’s clutch hit allowed both Perez and Glenn to score, giving the Eagles a wild 8-7 victory. In all, the Crusaders committed two errors and gave up three runs on two hits in the ninth. Ozarks took a quick 2-0 lead after one inning. Cameron and Scott Dietz each had an RBI in the frame. The Eagles held a 3-1 advantage after three, but Mary Hardin-Baylor scored two in the top of the fourth to tie the score at 3-3. Ozarks answered with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run single by Cameron. The Crusaders took back the lead in the sixth when catcher Adam Froeschl hit a momentum-changing grand slam with two outs. Ozarks’ starter Curt Dixon held the Crusaders to three runs and struck out eight prior to Froeschl’s long ball. Dixon worked his way out of several jams throughout the game, including a first inning that saw him record back-to-back strikeouts with the bases loaded. Cameron ended the game going 3-for-5 with 4 RBI. Jimmy Pannell and David Smith each had a pair of hits. Dixon went five and two-third innings, allowed ten hits, but gave up only one earned run. D.J. Braswell threw one and one-third innings and did not allow a hit. Brett Wood received the win after finishing the final two innings. Wood moves to 2-2 on the season. He had one strikeout and did not allow a run. Head coach Jimmy Clark got his 100th career victory at Ozarks with the come-from-behind win.