May 13, 2007

Hillcats Win Two in Region Tournament

After qualifying for post-season play for the first time in school history, Rogers State made a strong showing in Farmers Branch, Texas, as the Hillcats finished 2-2 in the Region VI Tournament on Thursday.

RSU blanked Northwood (Cedar Hill, Texas) University, 2-0, in the tournament’s opening round. Kelli Dunagan pitched 6.1 innings to earn the victory, striking out six while yielding just one walk. Stephanie Eggers recorded the final two outs of the game to earn the save. The only runs of the game came in the fourth inning when Kacy Ward led off with a single and Megan Wood reached on an error. Dunagan followed with an RBI sacrifice bunt and Randi Tyler delivered an RBI single.

The Hillcats faced top-seeded Oklahoma City in round two. Erin Slettvet gave the Stars a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a two-run homer to center field off Eggers. RSU stormed back in the home half of the inning as Ward led off with a triple to right and Wood followed with an RBI single. After a walk and an OCU error, Taylor Whisenhunt was plunked with the bases loaded to push home the tying run. OCU put together a two-out rally in the fourth, stringing together three consecutive hits to take a 4-2 lead. The Stars would add a run on three hits in the fifth and Brittani Ellis added a solo shot in the seventh to reach the final margin, 6-2. Eggers suffered the loss after allowing four earned runs in 3.2 innings of work.

After a short rest, the Hillcats regrouped to face Northwestern Oklahoma State in an elimination contest. RSU received all the offense it would need in the top of the first inning. Ward led off the game with a double and scored on an RBI groundout by Dunagan. RSU added a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to cruise to a 4-0 victory. Dunagan and Eggers combined to allow just one hit in a dominating performance. Dana Gandolfo broke up the no-hit bid in the sixth inning with a single through the right side. Dunagan (20-5) earned the win with 4.1 innings of scoreless pitching.

RSU faced a tough task in the day’s final contest. The Hillcats faced No. 6 Houston Baptist in the fourth game of the day for Dawn Reed’s club. The Huskies belted three home runs off of a tired Hillcat pitching staff en route to an 8-0 victory. RSU managed just two hits in the final game.

The Hillcats finished the season 31-15 and finished fourth in regional play. The three teams left in the tournament after the first day - St. Gregory’s, Oklahoma City and Houston Baptist - are all ranked in the top 10 of the NAIA polls. 2007 marked the first time an RSU athletic program reached post-season play. The Hillcats will compete as a member of the Sooner Athletic Conference in 2007-08.