Apr. 21, 2007

Baseball Hillcats Split with Mid-America Christian

A controversial call silenced a seventh Hillcat comeback in Game 1 as Rogers State settled for a split with Mid-America Christian at the Hillcat Complex on Saturday.

The Hillcats trailed 5-2 entering the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 1 and appeared to be finished after the first two batters of the inning were retired in order. Blake Hollingsworth started a rally and pulled RSU one run closer with a solo homer over the left-center field wall. Zack Bacon followed with a double and Greg Speed dropped down a perfect bunt single to put runners at the corners.

MACU Coach Jason Blackwell summoned Chad Lantz from the bullpen to try and close out the game. Lantz promptly hit Todd Koscheski to load the bases and then plunked Andrew Sherman, pushing a run home to make it a 5-4 game. Lantz’s first pitch to John Vaughn grazed the Hillcat catcher’s left knee for what appeared to be a game-tying RBI. However, the home plate umpire ruled Vaughn leaned into the pitch and he was called back to finish the at-bat. Lantz induced Vaughn into a game-ending strikeout, stranding the bases loaded and preserving the win for the Evangels.

Bryan Hollenbeck (4-4) suffered the loss for Hillcats. Craig South (6-4) earned the win for MACU as Lantz recorded his second save of the season despite the shaky seventh.

Brent Hill turned in a gem of a performance for the Hillcats in Game 2. The senior tossed a complete game and allowed just one run while scattering eight hits. Hill did not yield a walk and racked up five strikeouts. The game was tied, 1-1, in the fifth when Speed drew a leadoff walk. Speed stole second and scored on a single up the middle by Ryan Littlejohn. A double by Eric Bunch chased Littlejohn home and gave RSU a 3-1 advantage. The Hillcats added a run in the sixth on an RBI single by Andrew Sherman to reach the final margin, 4-1.

Hill (8-2) picked up his team-leading eighth win with the victory. Coach Ron Bradley’s team improved to 24-22 and will travel to Mid-America Christian on Monday for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live on RSU Radio 91.3 FM.