OKLAHOMA CITY (May 10, 2010) – No.5 Lubbock Christian University scored seven unanswered runs, including five in the top of the ninth inning to rally for a 12-8 come-from-behind victory over six-seeded Rogers State University to open the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Monday afternoon at Jim Wade Stadium on the campus of Oklahoma City University.
Rogers State led throughout most of the game after a trio of doubles in the second inning placed the Hillcats with a 4-1 lead. LCU trailed 8-7 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning and RSU had a perfect opportunity to extend the lead. Kevin Radford hit a long fly ball to centerfield that Chaps centerfielder Rafael Thomas was unable to track down with the high winds blowing out, and it resulted in a lead-off triple. Hunter Scott came in to pitch for the Chaps, replacing Shane Ingram, and collected the first out by striking out Rob Rodriguez. Then, the Hillcats gambled with a suicide squeeze with Valdez bunting and Radford charging home from third base, but Valdez's bunt was caught by Chaps first baseman Doug Kroll, who doubled-up Radford for the double play to get out of the jam. With one out in the ninth, Richard Bohlken produced his first hit of the game with a solo blast over the left field fence to tie the game at 8-8. It was the first hit for the Chaps against Jacob Wenaas, who was on for the save. Dan Neumann and Marc Gomez produced singles following Bohlken's 23rd home run of the season, and J.J. Muse walked to load the bases. Rafael Thomas hit his first sacrifice fly of the season and David Cruz blasted a three-run homer to cap the five-run ninth inning. The Hillcats went through four different pitchers in the ninth inning.
LCU took the initial lead with a trio of singles in the first inning leading to a 1-0 lead. Once RSU took the 4-1 lead in the second inning, LCU made several attempts at coming back but RSU was able to hold their distance in the middle innings. LCU scored a pair of runs in the third inning off a sacrifice fly by Joe Staley and a balk, and a pair in the fourth inning off a solo homer from Reid Chenworth and an RBI-single from Cruz. RSU maintained the lead to dodge each of those LCU rallies, as they countered with a pair of runs in the third inning and a pair in the bottom of the sixth inning, which gave the Hillcats an 8-5 lead through six innings of play. The Chaps scored the first two runs of their seven unanswered runs in the seventh inning with Chenworth blasting his second home run of the game.
Tristan Gaines made his fourth start of the season for Chaps and only lasted 2 1/3 innings. He gave up six runs off seven hits, with five of the hits for extra bases. RSU hit 12 hits total in the game and nine were for extra bases. Shane Ingram relieved Gaines and slowed up the Hillcats offense, allowing one earned run off four hits over 4 2/3 innings. Scott faced six batters over the final two innings and allowed just one hit. He collected the win to improve to 10-3 on the season, and is now 2-0 with a pair of saves against RSU on the season. RSU's Grant Cosby missed out on the win with Wenaas' blown save. Cosby allowed seven runs off 13 hits over 7 1/3 innings. Wenaas was credited with the loss to drop to 3-4.
Cruz tied an LCU single-game record with five hits in the game. He was 5-for-6 with four singles and a homer with four runs-batted-in. Reid Chenworth was 2-for-3 with two homers and three runs-batted-in. LCU was 8-for-19 as a team with runners in scoring position, while RSU was 4-for-18. The Hillcats fall to 30-20 with the loss and will face Northwestern Oklahoma State University Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. in an elimination contest.
Following the Chaps game, thunderstorms and tornadic activity interrupted the game between Oklahoma City University and Northwestern Oklahoma State, resulting in fans and players seeking shelter in designated storm shelters for over an hour as storms passed through. The storms have caused a change to the remainder of the tournament's schedule. The top-seeded Chaparrals (41-11) will remain in the winners' bracket and will now play at 1 p.m. Tuesday against the loser of the contest pitting Wayland Baptist University against Southern Nazarene University.
Game 1: Lubbock Christian 12, Rogers State 8
Game 2: Northwestern Ok. St. 13, Oklahoma City 15
Game 3: Southern Nazarene vs. Wayland Baptist, 7:30 p.m.