Eagles rally with HRs in 9th, key hits in 10th to complete series sweep

Cody Rosecrans hit the game-tying home run in the ninth inning in OC's win at Texas A&M International.
Cody Rosecrans hit the game-tying home run in the ninth inning in OC's win at Texas A&M International.

LAREDO, Texas (March 1, 2014) – The great thing about baseball, it’s said, is there is no time clock, meaning you’re not beaten until the final pitch, however long it takes. Oklahoma Christian proved that true with a dramatic rally on Saturday afternoon at Texas A&M International.

Jordan Lopez and Cody Rosecrans each hit a two-run home run with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to force extra innings, and Caleb Price and Zac Cobble had run-scoring hits in a three-run 10th to lift the Eagles to an 11-8 win at Jorge Haynes Field.

OC (7-5, 4-2 Heartland Conference) swept the series from TAMIU (5-12, 0-6), the first time the Eagles swept a conference opponent since March 2012, when they won three straight from Wayland Baptist (Texas) in Sooner Athletic Conference play. TAMIU was swept at home in league play for the second straight week, as the Dustdevils earlier lost three straight to Lubbock Christian (Texas).

OC’s improbable rally came after the Dustdevils seized control with a seven-run seventh inning, taking an 8-4 lead. But in the ninth, Price led off with a single against TAMIU reliever Clay Phillip. Two outs later, he scored on Lopez’s home run. Blake Stringer followed with a walk and Rosecrans’ homer brought him home.

“I’m proud of the way we battled,” OC coach Lonny Cobble said. “That game swung with emotions and it was exhausting. Our guys never gave up and they battled to get an early lead. Then (TAMIU) had the seven-run seventh and we still stayed with our approach and saved at-bats.

“Jordan had a great weekend and we just asked our guys to get the tying run to the plate. Cody did a great job on getting a pitch he could handle and hit it out of the yard. Lots of guys stepped up today! I’m very proud of our guys.”

In the 10th, facing TAMIU reliever Baylr Bickerton (2-2), Cory Eastwood drew a leadoff walk and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sean Murphy. Price’s single down the right-field line scored Eastwood and A.J. Florence followed with a single, sending Price to third. Florence stole second base before Zac Cobble singled up the middle to score Price and Florence to make it 11-8.

OC reliever Ryan Nash (1-0) pitched the final two innings, allowing just one hit, to pick up the win.

Lopez finished 4-for-6 and scored three runs, while Stringer was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBIs. His two-run homer in the top of the seventh put OC ahead 4-1.

TAMIU sent 10 men to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, with Connor Belvin delivering the big blow, a grand slam off OC reliever Garrett Guys that put the Dustdevils up 8-4.

OC starter Tyler Sturges pitched five innings, striking out nine, while his TAMIU counterpart, Marty Bigham, had six strikeouts in five innings.