Feb. 27, 2007

Baseball Hillcats Suffer Tough Losses

The RSU baseball team picked up a win in the first game of a four-game road trip on Friday, but suffered three consecutive tough losses to close out a disappointing weekend at Point Lookout, Mo.

The Hillcats squared off against Sooner Athletic Conference opponent Northwestern Oklahoma State in the first game of the weekend. Left-hander Dusty Carriger (2-1) pitched six strong innings as RSU defeated the Rangers, 6-2. The Hillcats took an early 4-0 lead and cruised to the win despite tallying just five hits in the contest. However, two of those hits came in the form of home runs courtesy of third baseman Brett Hollingsworth and catcher Eric Schulz. It was the second homer of the week for Hollingsworth and the first for Schulz in a Hillcat uniform.

RSU ran into a buzz saw in Game 2 as Graceland University (Lamoni, Iowa) ace Chris Hayes pitched a complete game shutout and defeated RSU, 4-0. Hayes allowed just three hits on the afternoon while fanning eight Hillcat batters. Third baseman Tyler Moe produced more than enough offense for Graceland when he clubbed a three-run homer in the bottom of the third inning. Bryan Hollenbeck (1-2) suffered the loss for RSU.

Coach Ron Bradley's club had little time to recover as they faced national power Culver-Stockton College at 10 a.m., Saturday morning. It marked the first game of the year for Culver-Stockton, ranked No. 9 in the pre-season national polls. Trailing, 1-0 in the top of the fifth inning, RSU scored three times and led 4-1 entering the bottom of the seventh. The Hillcats couldn't close the door as Culver-Stockton scored three runs with the aid of two RSU errors to send the game to extra innings. Culver-Stockton finally broke through in the bottom of the eleventh with a two-out single to right to claim a marathon victory, 5-4. A strong effort by RSU starter Brent Hill went for not. Hill pitched 6.1 innings and allowed no earned runs while striking out seven. Tyler Whitaker (1-2) took the loss in relief for the Hillcats.

RSU faced the host of the weekend festival, College of the Ozarks, in finale. Despite a great performance by freshman Josh Walker in his first start, the Hillcats were the victim of walk-off dramatics for the second time on the day. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the game knotted at 2-2, pinch hitter Jim Posey laced a game-winning single to right field, handing the Hillcats their third tough loss of the weekend.

RSU fell to 6-8 with the two losses on Saturday. The Hillcats hit the road for five more road contests this week, beginning Tuesday at Bacone. The next home game for the baseball Hillcats is Tuesday, Mar. 6.