Clarksville, Ark.-The U of O Eagles (10-13, 5-10) baseball team swept Austin College (0-26, 0-12) in American Southwest Conference play over the weekend in Clarksville. The Eagles will travel to Marshall, Texas, to face East Texas Baptist April 4 and 5 in ASC action.
The Eagles used a seven run first inning and a dominating pitching performance by freshman right-hander Dustin Cole to prevail 12-3 in the first game of the three-game series against the Kangaroos. In the first inning, Ozarks scored on RBI’s by Justin Brown, Cliff Ford, Chris Harrell and Todd Vandevoir to break out to a 7-0 lead. The Kangaroos would eventually score one run in the third inning and two in the fourth to cut the lead to 7-3. The Eagles, however, matched Austin by scoring one run in the bottom of the fourth and two runs in the fifth. Cole then held Austin scoreless in the final five innings of play to receive the win. Cole, who held the Kangaroos to five hits while striking out five batters, garnered his first win of the year. Cole (1-1) gave up only one earned run in the contest. The Eagles pounded out 18 hits in the game with Vandevoir, Brown and Harrell each tallying three hits apiece. Ford and Harrell paced Ozarks with 3 RBI each. The second game of the series saw the Eagles fall behind 8-2 before exploding for seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to gain a 9-8 victory. After facing a 6-0 deficit in the third inning, the Eagles put two runs on the board in the bottom half of the inning after Rusty Farrin and Vandevoir each scored. Ozarks then went into the final inning of play trailing 8-2 before storming back to take the lead. The Eagles tied the game when Brian Heckmann was hit by a pitch with the base loaded. Brett Hays then calmly ripped a single to right field to push in the winning run. Hays, who finished the game with two hits, recorded the clutch hit with two outs. Frankie Callazo (2-1) received the win. The Eagles needed two runs in the final inning of play to secure a wild 13-12 victory over the Kangaroos in the third game. Ozarks held a 11-6 lead going into the seventh inning before Austin scored 6 runs to take a 12-11 advantage. Four straight walks advanced Harrell across the plate to tie the game. With the bases still loaded and no outs, Brain Heckmann was hit by a wild pitch to put in the winning run. Harrell (1-1) received the win. Hays led Ozarks with three hits. "It’s always nice to win three conference games," said head coach Jimmy Clark. "That’s the first time we’ve had a sweep against a conference opponent since I’ve been here. They weren’t pretty wins, but we’ll take them. It seems like when we needed clutch plays, the guys came through. I thought Justin Brown, Brett Hays and Rusty Farrin had solid offensive performances for us and Dustin Cole did a good job on the mound in the first game." Clark expects a tough series against East Texas Baptist this weekend. "This is a big series for us," said Clark. "Our goal at the beginning of the year was to win at least two of three games in every series, and hopefully we can do that against ETBU this weekend. We’ll need to win every series from here on out in order to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot."