Bobcats drop two one-run games in home opener
College of the Ozarks Bobcat baseball team opened their 2020 season at home on Friday afternoon, facing a strong William Penn University (Kan.) squad.
The Bobcats fell short in both games, losing each with a one-run differential at 3-2.
Game one opened with junior southpaw Sean Neal on the mound for the Bobcats. The Statesmen of William Penn came into the game with three wins under their belt and proceeded to tally two runs on four hits in the top of the first against Neal.
In the bottom of the frame, the Bobcats’ lead-off hitter Zach Ford singled, and Kyle Abrahamson was hit by a pitch, but C of O had no luck pushing a runner across the plate.
The bottom of the second found the Bobcats loading the bases with no outs, but three consecutive strike outs by WPU pitcher Chase Stratton shut down the Bobcat threat.
WPU responded by mixing two hits with a walk, fielder’s choice, and sac fly to score their third run. Spencer Greene entered the game in the top of the fourth to relieve Neal and proceeded to pitch four scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out one.
The Bobcats made some noise in the fifth, when the heart of the order—Max Pulley, Ryan Daggs, and Kolton Giefer hit back-to-back singles, driving in a run. However, a strikeout and caught-stealing at the plate thwarted a big inning. In the bottom of the seventh with two outs, Ryan Daggs smacked his first home run of the season to bring the Cats within one run of the Statesmen, 3-2.
Kolton Giefer followed with a single, and Lincoln Rasmussen was hit by a pitch, but a fly ball ended the game.
The Bobcats tallied two runs on 11 hits, while William Penn scored three runs on eight hits. Daggs led the Bobcats at the plate with a 3-for-4 performance, including his home run, and provided the Bobcats with some stellar plays at third base.
Pitcher Sean Neal took the loss, allowing three earned runs on five hits, walking two, and striking out one.
The second game of the day featured two solid performances by freshman pitchers for C of O.
Rhett Hill (Fair Grove, Mo.) was an All-State selection his senior season. In his collegiate debut, Hill went 5 1/3 innings for the Bobcats, giving up two runs on four hits. He struck out four and walked two batters.
He was followed by Michael White, a lefty from Poplar Bluff, Mo., who was also an All-State recipient. White pitched one and two-thirds innings, giving up no earned runs on one hit, striking out four and walking two.
Unfortunately, the Bobcat bats were relatively silent, as they tallied only two hits. The first was a home run from Westin Gann in the third to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead. Daggs belted his second home run of the day in the sixth to tie up the game at 2 runs apiece and take his daily stats to 4-for-7.
WPU scored one run in each of the final three innings to capture their second 3-2 victory of the day.
Lionel Colon of the Statesmen recorded six innings, giving up two runs on two hits, striking out one, and walking one.
Bobcats Rally to Win Two
College of the Ozarks Bobcats improved their record to 2-2 on Saturday, as they collected two victories over William Penn University (Iowa). The Bobcats won both games by a score of 4-2.
Game one saw senior southpaw Kyle Giefer take the mound for the first time this season.
The first runs of the game came in the bottom of the second.
With two outs on the board, junior Zach Ford legged out a bunt single, Kolton Giefer doubled to score Ford, and Westin Gann hit a line drive to score Giefer, giving the Cats a 2-0 advantage.
Kyle Giefer continued to stymie the Statesmen as the Bobcats added a run in the fifth on a lead-off homer by Lincoln Rasmussen and a run in the sixth on a lead-off Texas leaguer by Brent Shinkle, who advanced and scored on subsequent groundouts, giving the Cats a 4-0 lead.
In the seventh inning, WPU opened with a ground-ball out and followed with a Snaider Torrealba single to left field.
A pitching change brought freshman Michael White to the mound.
A Bobcat throwing error kept the inning alive for the Statesmen. WPU would grind out two runs, but no more, and the Bobcats nabbed their first win of the season.
The Cats tallied their four runs on six hits, all coming from different hitters.
Westin Gann, Max Pulley, and Shinkle each went 1 for 2 at the plate, and Shinkle scored a run; Rasmussen and Kolton Giefer each went 1 for 3 with one run scored and one RBI, and Ford was also 1 for 3 with one run scored.
Kyle Giefer collected the win, pitching 6-1/3 innings, giving up no earned runs and three walks, while striking out five batters.
Michael White picked up his first career save. Tyler Gregory took the loss for WPU. Ryan Daggs took the mound for the Bobcats in game two.
Both teams came out and put a run on the board in the first inning.
William Penn proceeded to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the third on a Jarret Hunt single and a Jameson Hart double.
The Cats struggled to put another run on the board until Pulley led off with a line drive home run over the left field fence to tie the game at 2 runs apiece.
Two outs followed before the Bobcats struck again. A single by Rasmussen, a Kolton Giefer hit by pitch, and a walk to Gann loaded the bases.
Kyle Giefer battled at the plate to collect a walk, which drove in Rasmussen.
Freshman Rhett Hill singled to shallow right center for his first collegiate hit and RBI.
Daggs held the Statesmen scoreless through the remaining two innings to capture a complete-game victory, giving up 2 runs on four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.
Leading the Bobcats at the plate were Pulley (1-2, 2 R, 1 RBI) and Kolton Giefer (1-2, 1R).
C of O will return home to host a tri-match on February 14 and 15, with games at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. each day.