Clarksville, Ark.-No. 14 Ozarks cranked out four home runs in a 9-5 win in game one, but Mississippi College used a four-run eighth to pull out a 11-8 win in game two of Saturday's American Southwest Conference double-header at Lonnie R. Qualls Field.
The split sets up a decisive game three in which both teams continue to battle for the division title and a chance to host the first round of the playoffs. Ozarks (27-7) now stands in third place in the division with a 13-4 mark. Mississippi College (20-15) remains in second place with a 11-3 ASC record, while Texas-Tyler leads the division with a 13-2 record. Sunday’s nine-inning contest will start at 1:00 p.m. and can be followed on the web at www.kxio-fmradio.com.
A home run derby ensued in game one as wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour helped the ball fly out of the park as the two teams combined for seven homers in the seven-inning contest.
Ozarks scored three runs on three hits in the bottom of the first. David Smith led off with a double and Bruce Cameron also reached base after being hit by a pitch. Cory Briggs then doubled both base runners in to make it 2-0. Robert Mummey singled in Briggs for the third run of the game. Briggs increased Ozarks’ lead to 5-0 with a two-run homer over right center in the second. Mississippi College answered with three runs in the third behind two home runs. Not to be outdone, Mummey belted a solo shot to give the Eagles a 6-3 lead in the bottom half of the third. The Eagles got another solo shot in the fourth, this time coming from Cameron. With a 7-4 advantage, the Eagles padded their lead to 9-4 thanks to a Robby Finnell homer and a RBI single by Scott Dietz in the fifth. Finnell became the school’s all-time career home run leader (28) with the dinger to the power alley in right center. The Choctaws put the tying run on deck in the seventh, but reliever John Scheuring forced a fly out, fanned the next batter and then recorded another fly out to end the game. It was his second save of the season.
Briggs went 2-for-3 and produced 4 RBI. Mummey finished 3-for-3 with 2 RBI. Finnell had a 2-for-4 day at the plate. Briggs went yard for the fourth time this season, while Cameron and Mummey each notched their eighth, and Finnell his tenth of the season.
Curt Dixon (7-1) tossed six innings and had four strikeouts.
In game two, the Choctaws took a 2-1 lead after one frame. A single off the left field wall scored two in the fourth inning to give Mississippi College a 4-1 lead. But Mummey cleared the bases when he doubled through the left side in the fourth. Dietz doubled in Mummey to put Ozarks ahead 5-4. Ozarks added three runs in the bottom of the sixth to make a 8-5 cushion for themselves. Mississippi College cut the deficit to 8-7 with a two-run homer in the top of the seventh. The Choctaws tied the game with an RBI double in the eighth. With two outs, however, the Choctaws scored three more runs to take the lead for good. Ozarks struggled at the plate in the final three innings, as they did not record a hit. The Choctaw relievers allowed just three base runners during that span.
Five Eagles had two hits in the contest. Mummey drove in three to lead Ozarks in that category.
Finnell (3-1) absorbed the loss.