Bartlesville, Okla.--The University of the Ozarks baseball team bumped their record to 7-0 with a Tuesday afternoon victory over Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
In the first inning, Ozarks (7-0,0-0) took an early lead as Justin Brown walked and immediately scored after Caleb Hilton hit a double to the left center gap. Ozarks then added another run when freshman Robby Finnell knocked in Hilton with a shot to right field. Ozarks starting pitcher Tyler Pickett made it through the first inning smoothly before running into trouble in the bottom of the second. After retiring the first hitter of the inning, Pickett surrendered two singles and a double, respectively. After recording an out, Pickett gave up another single which gave Oklahoma Wesleyan (4-6, 0-0) a 3-2 lead. Pickett then settled in and retired five OWU hitters in a row before the Ozarks’ defense crumbled in the bottom of the fourth. In all, Pickett pitched around three errors and only surrendered one run to give OWU a 4-2 lead. Ozarks would pull within one run in the fifth inning. Hilton drew a two out walk and three pitches later he scored on a perfectly executed hit and run when junior Anthony Brandon scorched a single to the outfield. With the score tied at 4-4 in the ninth, freshman Curt Dixon, who relieved Pickett in the sixth, retired the first two hitters of the inning. OWU then hit back-to-back singles, which placed runners at first and third. After a fielder’s indifference allowed the base runner to take second base, Dixon struck out right fielder Joel Rigdon on a 3-2 curve ball at the knees sending the game to the tenth inning. The top of the tenth proved to be kind to Ozarks as Brandon led off with a ground ball that was booted by the Wesleyan shortstop. Finnell followed up with his fourth hit of the game, putting runners on first and second. After an infield hit by freshman Todd Koch loaded the bases, sophomore Kyle Hudson ripped a two RBI single past the shortstop scoring both Brandon and Finnell. The two runs proved to be enough as Dixon (1-0) shut down OWU in order in the bottom half of the inning to give him his first collegiate win. Dixon pitched five solid innings in relief, scattering five hits, walking one, striking out four and allowing no runs. Pickett, in his first start on the mound for the Eagles, worked five innings allowing three earned runs on six hits. Leading the way offensively for Ozarks was freshman and Tulsa native Finnell, who went 4-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. He also scored two runs. Brandon went 1-for-5 and extended his school-record hitting streak to 28 games. The Eagles enter American Southwest Conference crossover action this weekend in Abilene, Texas, when they take on McMurry University. The first game against McMurry, who is picked to finish first in the ASC West, will be Friday at 7 p.m. The series concludes Saturday with a double-header beginning at 1 p.m.