OKLAHOMA CITY (March 28, 2013) – Three St. Edward’s (Texas) pitchers combined on a four-hitter, outdueling the Oklahoma Christian duo of Tyler Sturges and Kacy Cook as the Hilltoppers edged OC 2-1 on Thursday afternoon at Dobson Field.
Marshall Burford’s solo home run to left field in the fifth inning proved to be the difference for Heartland Conference power St. Edward’s (20-9), which completed a two-game season sweep of OC (18-12).
St. Edward’s starter Kyle Seithel (1-1) struck out six batters in six innings. Max McDonald came on in the seventh and threw one pitch, recording an out, before Matt Davis entered. Davis went the rest of the way to record his third save of the season, allowing only one baserunner during his 2 2/3-inning stint.
Sturges and Cook (0-2) also combined on a strong pitching outing. Sturges left the game after two innings after he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Beau Rogers. On short notice, Cook entered and scattered six hits in seven innings.
The Hilltoppers, fourth in NCAA Division II’s South Central Region rankings and 30th in the balloting in the latest national poll, took a 1-0 lead against Sturges in the top of the first. Taylor Johnson singled to center field to start the game, stole second base and scored on a double to left-center field by Ransom LaLonde.
OC answered in the bottom of the first. Markus Carr, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles, led off with a double to left field. A groundout by Caleb Price moved Carr to third. Jordan Lopez followed with a grounder to LaLonde, the St. Edward’s shortstop, but Carr beat LaLonde’s throw to home plate and tied the game.
The Eagles didn’t advance another runner past second base, wasting one-out doubles by Carr in the third inning and Garrett Guys in the sixth inning. Rogers, the Hilltoppers’ center fielder, made a running catch of a two-out drive by Lopez in the third inning and held onto the baseball despite slamming into the outfield wall at nearly full speed. Rogers left the game after that.
Burford led off the fifth inning with his fourth home run of the season, just inside the left-field foul pole. St. Edward’s almost built on its slim lead in the ninth, but Cook recorded two of his three strikeouts and the Hilltoppers left the bases loaded.