Clarksville, Ark.-Todd Koch struck out 10 to overcome a two-hit performance by the Eagles' offense in a 3-2 game one victory over Austin College Saturday, and then just when it appeared Ozarks had secured a game two victory, the Kangaroos sent the non-conference affair into extra innings and rallied for a 9-8 win.
Ozarks will face Austin College (10-23) tomorrow in a single nine-inning game beginning at 12:00 p.m.
Ozarks (17-21, 9-9 ASC) has advanced to the playoffs for the third straight season under head coach Jimmy Clark. The Eagles will be the No. 4 seed from the American Southwest Conference East Division and will travel to Seguin, Texas, to face West Division champion Texas Lutheran University (28-13, 16-5 ASC) April 24-25. The best-of-three series will begin Friday with game one. The Eagles will end the regular season Tuesday when they travel to Russellville to play Arkansas Tech University.
Against Austin College, the Eagles got just enough runs for Koch to pull out a game one victory. Ozarks plated a pair of runs in the first on doubles from Jeremy Hogan and Cory Briggs. Those two-baggers would be the only hits for Ozarks in the game. However, the Eagles manufactured the game-winning run in the third on a Bruce Cameron sacrifice fly. David Smith set up Cameron’s game-winner when he drew a walk to start the inning and advanced two bases on a throwing error by the catcher. Koch kept the Eagles in the game with his second 10-strikeout performance of the season. Koch scattered six hits through seven innings to pick up his third win of the year. Koch did not allow a walk and fanned back-to-back batters to end the game.
Ozarks let a 8-5 lead slip away as Austin College rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and one run in the bottom of the eighth with two outs. The Eagles made their own comeback in the top of the seventh, scoring five runs on four hits to take control of the game. In the seventh, Hogan drew a bases loaded walk for the first run. Koch singled in a pair of runs to put Ozarks ahead 6-5. With two outs, Rusty Cordell ripped a single to left field to score two more runs. Not to be outdone, Austin College got a two-out single from Patrick Ray to score two of his teammates in the bottom half of the inning. The game-tying run was scored on a wild pitch. Austin College took that momentum into the eighth and fanned back-to-back batters to open the frame. The Eagles did get a runner in scoring position when Aaron McNeil drew a walk and later stole second. However, the Kangaroos got the third out on another strike out. In the bottom half of the inning, Ozarks recorded two strikeouts, but a costly hit batsman squeezed between strikeouts allowed George Scheible to record the game-winning RBI.
Hogan, who hit a three-run homer in the third to get Ozarks within 4-3, drove in four runs. Koch and Cordell each went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
John Scheuring (4-3) suffered the loss after tossing one and two-third innings in relief. Bobby Osburn came in for Cameron and struck out six in four innings of work.