Clarksville, Ark.--The U of O baseball team finished the season on a high note winning two of three games against Louisiana College over the weekend in American Southwest Conference action.
"We were close to making the playoffs this season," said head coach Jimmy Clark. "That will be our goal for next season and the Louisiana College series is a good step in that direction. They are the number two seed in the East Division so those were quality wins." The Eagles (22-18, 8-13) battered four Louisiana College (20-14, 13-8) pitchers in their 9-2 win in Saturday’s second game. Ozarks held a 4-0 lead after three innings of play while starting pitcher Curt Dixon held Louisiana College to just two hits over that span. Todd Koch collected an RBI single in the first and Kyle Hudson did the same in the second to start the Eagles’ offensive production. In the third, Brett Hays led off with a single up the middle. Hays then stole second and Anthony Brandon doubled him in. Koch walked and Chris Harrell was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Matt Tito and Hudson both recorded an RBI when they each drew a walk. In the fifth inning, Caleb Hilton reached base on a single and knocked in Hudson. In his final at bat in an Ozarks uniform, Hilton bashed a two-run shot to give the Eagles a 8-2 lead in the seventh. Brandon gave Ozarks their final run of the game in the eighth with a solo shot over the left field fence. Reliever Chase Hale got some help in the eighth when Harrell robbed Louisiana’s Herman Galatas of a sure double when he made a sprinting catch in the outfield. The hard-nosed Harrell didn’t slow down despite crashing into the fence. Brandon finished the game 3-for-5. Hilton had three RBI and ends the year with several single-season school records, including home runs (11), runs (48) and RBI (39). Harrell, who scored one run in his career finale on Saturday, holds the career record at Ozarks in games played (141) and runners thrown out (36). Dixon (5-4) received the win. He had four strikeouts in five innings of work. Louisiana College pounded out 16 hits in route to a 12-3 win over the Eagles in the first game of Saturday’s double-header. A fired-up Wildcat team took out their frustration from Friday’s loss on the Ozarks’ pitching staff, and scored three runs in the first and four runs in the second. The Eagles finally scored in the bottom of the third, but it was already too late. The Wildcats added four more runs in the fourth to hold a 11-1 lead. Ozarks would score twice in the bottom half of the inning when Tyler Gideon singled in two runs. From that point, Wildcat starter James Halle allowed just two hits the rest of the way. Harrell went 3-for-3 to lead the Ozarks’ offense. Brian Heckmann (5-4) received the loss. "It’s the most wins and the first winning season since 1996," said Clark. "I feel like we have the program headed in the right direction. I thought our pitching was much improved this year and we hit the ball so much better than we did in the past. Overall, I thought we improved in all facets of the game. The conference has a lot of parity. You don’t have time to take any weekend off. You have to come ready to play."