Clarksville, Ark.-East Texas Baptist University's nine-run ninth inning lifted the Tigers past Ozarks 13-11 in game two and gave the Tigers two American Southwest Conference wins in Friday's double-header at Lonnie R. Qualls Field.
Ozarks drops to 8-12 overall and 1-4 in ASC play while the Tigers improve to 15-4-1 and 3-2 in league play. ETBU’s miraculous comeback in game two started in the top of the ninth. Trailing 11-4, the Tigers had eleven straight batters reach base, with seven of them using singles to get on. In all, ETBU collected nine of their 12 hits in the game in the final inning. The comeback overshadowed Ozarks’ starting pitcher Chase Hale’s gem. Hale gave up only two hits and allowed just one run in six innings of work. He kept the potent ETBU bats cold by overpowering them using his fastball. He finished with four strikeouts. The Tigers went through four Ozarks pitchers in the final three innings of play while gaining enough momentum to score all but one run in the final three innings. Ozarks appeared to be on a roll, holding a 10-1 lead after six innings of action, but the game was far from over as ETBU’s bats came alive to earn the win. The three-hour plus game saw Ozarks out hit ETBU 15-12. Brian Heckmann went 3-for-4 and Robby Finnell and Tim Renshaw each collected 3 RBI. Kyle Hudson (3-1) suffered the loss. Ozarks late-inning rally in game one came up short as the Eagles were unable to get timely hits in their 6-3 loss to the Tigers. ETBU’s starting pitcher Chris Estrada held Ozarks’ bats in check through five innings as he allowed only four hits, three of which came in the third. East Texas Baptist opened up the game with a two-run home run in the top of the first. The Eagles had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the third, but were unable to score. ETBU scored a pair of runs in the sixth to make it difficult for an Ozarks’ comeback. In the bottom of the sixth, Ozarks again loaded the bases after Heckmann and Anthony Brandon each reached base with hits and Finnell walked. Renshaw delivered a single to centerfield to score Heckmann, and Justin Brown followed with a 2-RBI single to finish the three-run inning. Ozarks threatened in the bottom of the seventh after David Smith led off with a walk and Caleb Hilton was hit by a pitch. Heckmann then reached on an error to load the bases, but the Eagles failed to put any on the board to close out the game. Ozarks would leave seven runners on base in the loss. Curt Dixon (2-5) absorbed the loss after pitching five and one-third innings. He had four strikeouts. Estrada (2-1) had four strikeouts in the game in five and one-third innings. Heckmann finished the day going 2-for-4. Brown had 2 RBI. Ozarks will face ETBU in a nine-inning game tomorrow starting at 10:00 a.m.