Clarksville, Ark.-The Lady Eagles beat a ranked opponent for the first time in program history with a 5-4 victory over #21 East Texas Baptist University on Saturday afternoon.
Ozarks (7-3, 2-2) also had never beat the Tigers (12-4, 1-1), who came into the game ranked in the top-25 by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, prior to Saturday’s American Southwest Conference win. The Lady Eagles had several missed opportunities in game two, but dropped a 5-4 decision to finish the day with a split.
In game one, after East Texas Baptist scored two in the top of the first, the Lady Eagles scored four runs from five hits in the bottom half of the inning to take a 4-2 lead. Three straight singles put Ozarks in an ideal position to take the lead, and the Lady Eagles did just that after a wild pitch advanced each runner. With no outs, Chelsea Joslin hammered a three-run shot over the right field fence to put Ozarks up 4-2. It was Joslin’s first homer of the season.
In the bottom of the third, Ozarks threatened again with the first two batters reaching base on errors. Sarah Otteman then followed with a bunt to load the bases. Ozarks scratched one more run across the plate with an RBI from Julie Wilkinson. Following ETBU’s score in the top of the first, Ozarks’ starter Brittany Thompson sat down the next eight batters before the Tigers finally got a hit in the fourth. Jessica Pianalto took another away in the same inning as she made a tough catch near first base in foul territory. The Tigers made it close in the fifth when they scored two runs on three hits. ETBU got the tying run on base in the final inning, but Thompson struck out the last batter to secure the win.
All six hits for Ozarks came from different players. Joslin led the team with 3 RBI.
Thompson moves her record to 5-0 behind a seven-hit complete game. She struck out four and issued only two walks.
Ozarks left nine runners on base, including the tying run on second base in the bottom of the seventh in their 5-4 loss in game two.
Kaitlyn Poirier led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to center field. Joslin then drew a walk to give the Lady Eagles a chance at a comeback. Ozarks, however, failed to get either past second as ETBU relief pitcher Chelsea Trochta came and received a save.
The Tigers opened the first with a 4-0 lead behind four hits. Ozarks got one run back when Joslin singled in Poirier in the bottom half of the inning. The Lady Eagles manufactured another run the next inning on a Stacy Simpson single to cut it to 4-2. Pianalto delivered a two-out hit to score a pair and tie the game 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth. The Tigers, however, got the go ahead run in the top of the seventh.
Dirks led Ozarks with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. Pianalto finished with a team-best 2 RBI.
Stephany Henson (2-3) took the loss for Ozarks.
Ozarks will travel to Arkadelphia to take on Ouachita Baptist University on March 19.