Apr. 21, 2007

Hillcats Settle for Split in Capital City Classic

Rogers State lost a heartbreaker to Northwestern Oklahoma State but rebounded to defeat Columbia (Mo.) College in Day 1 of the Capital City Classic at Done E. Porter Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

The Rangers benefited from two Hillcat errors in the bottom of the seventh inning to claim a 5-4 victory in Game 1. Kelsie Gilmore, who reached on an error, scored the winning run from second base when RSU pitcher Stephanie Eggers’ throw to first sailed wide of the bag on a routine grounder. It was an unfortunate ending to what had been an epic ballgame.

The Rangers, who knocked of No. 5 St. Gregory’s earlier in the day, traded zeroes with the Hillcats through the first four innings. Somer Dykes broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fifth with a sacrifice fly, scoring Megan Wood from third. Sydni Jones followed with a single and scored on a shot to the right-center field gap by Randi Tyler. However, Dana Gandolfo responded for the Rangers with a three-run home run to left in the bottom of the inning to put her team on top, 3-2. RSU came right back with a run in the top of the sixth. Taylor Whisenhunt started a two-out rally with a single and was chased home on back-to-back singles by Wood and Bridgett Stewart.

Lindsay Marshall put NWOSU back in front once again when she led off the bottom of the sixth with a homer, her first of the season. The Hillcats trailed 4-3 entering the seventh inning, but Dykes quickly retied the game with a lead-off home run of her own to straight-away center field. Kelli Dunagan nearly gave RSU a two-run lead when she belted a shot to the wall, but right fielder Elisa Torres hauled in the home run bid with her glove dangling over the fence for the third out of the inning.

Eggers (10-5) suffered the loss for RSU. She pitched the first 3.1 innings of the game before being relieved by Dunagan. Eggers re-entered the game in the seventh to take the hard luck loss, 5-4, as the Rangers scored the winning run without the benefit of a hit.

The Hillcats bounced back to take the second game of the day over Columbia College. Dunagan (15-5) turned in a dominating performance. The freshman tossed a seven-inning shutout, allowing just three hits while striking out seven. A home run from Jones in the top of the second was all the Hillcats would need offensively. RSU added a run in the fourth and another in sixth for good measure to claim a 3-0 victory. Dykes went 3-for-3 in the game. Jones and Bridgett Stewart chipped in with two hits a piece.

The Hillcats improved to 25-10 with the win and will take on No. 5 St. Gregory’s in Day 2 of pool play at 4 p.m. on Saturday.