The College of the Ozarks baseball team suffered a heartbreaking loss in the opening round of the NCCAA World Series in Easley, South Carolina, on Wednesday, dropping a 6-5, 11-inning decision to Bluefield College (Virginia).

The Bobcats took a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning on the opening day of the pool-play portion of the tournament, but second-seeded Bluefield scored two in the ninth to force extra innings, then won it in the 11th.

C of O, seeded seventh in the tournament, was scheduled to play No. 6 Trinity Christian (Illinois) on Thursday morning, then No. 10 Randall University (Oklahoma) on Thursday afternoon.

After spotting Bluefield a 1-0 lead on Wednesday, C of O tied the game on a double from Kobe Hammers and a single from Max Pulley.

The Rams took a 3-1 lead into the seventh inning, but the Bobcats struck again quickly, with Hammers belting a solo home run, followed by Pulley reaching on a hit-batsman and Jay Kaufman drilling a two-run home run.

In the C of O eighth, Kolton Giefer delivered an RBI single to make it a 5-3 lead for C of O.

But Bluefield tied the game with two in the home half of the ninth, and C of O couldn’t capitalize on a one-out double by Giefer in the 10th and a single by Kyle Abrahamson in the top of the 11th.

Bluefield scored the game-winner in the 11th, on a pair of one-out singles, then a sacrifice fly.

Giefer led the Bobcats with four hits, including a double, and an RBI, and Hammers added two hits, two runs scored and an RBI.

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