Clarksville, Ark.-For the second time this season, the Eagles have knocked off a ranked opponent, this time coming away with a 9-1 win over unbeaten and #22-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor on Friday.
Ozarks’ starter Todd Koch (2-1) highlighted the game with a strong performance on the mound. The right-handed junior finished with nine strikeouts in seven innings of work. The reigning ASC Pitcher of the Week allowed just two hits, two walks and did not give up a run. The Crusaders (10-1) biggest threat against Koch came in the top of the sixth when a pair of batters reached base. With one out, however, Koch fought back and struck out Steven Reinlie and then forced Andrew White to fly out to end the inning.
Offensively, the Eagles manufactured three runs on four hits in the bottom of the fourth to hold a 3-0 advantage. With Robby Finnell on third, Brad Broussard bunted to reach base, and starting Crusader pitcher R.B. Garza had an errant throw to the catcher, allowing Finnell to cross the plate. Logan Kizer followed with a single to right field putting a pair of players on base. Scott Dietz drew a walk to load the bases for David Smith. Smith delivered a shot to left field to score one. With two outs, Bruce Cameron kept the inning alive when he reached base on an error, thus scoring Kizer and giving Ozarks a 3-0 lead.
Ozarks got another run in the bottom of the seventh when Robert Mummey scorched one through the left side of the infield to score Cameron.
In the top of the eighth, the Crusaders recorded two hits, and should have had another, but Cameron robbed Joseph Villegas of a double when he made a stretching catch over his left shoulder to get the out. Ozarks then turned to ace reliever Kyle Hudson to get the final out of the inning. Hudson did just that, using a fastball to strike out Andrew White. Hudson pitched one and one-third innings and was credited with his league-leading fourth save of the year.
In the bottom of the eighth, Cameron recorded a sacrifice RBI and Cory Briggs hit a shot deep in the hole at shortstop to bring in Smith. Finnell then doubled in two runs to give Ozarks a 8-0 lead. Brad Broussard later was credited with a sacrifice fly to make it 9-0.
Kizer finished 3-for-4. Finnell went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Mummey finished 2-for-4 with one RBI. Cameron had 2 RBI.
Ozarks will continue their series with Mary Hardin-Baylor in a double-header beginning at 12:30 p.m.