Diamond Cats Drop Eagles, 9-5
Junior Hector Rivera sparked the Hillcat offense in the top of the first with a one-out solo shot blasted over the right field fence. It was his fifth round trip of the season.
Starting pitcher Shawn Spainhoward faced the minimum in the bottom of the inning and senior Randy Ramirez led off the top of the second frame with a double to the left center field gap. Senior Cade McKewon moved Ramirez to third with a sacrifice bunt and junior Keith Poverud drove him in with a RBI single up the middle to give RSU a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the third, Colton Campbell led off with a walk and advanced to third as Lance Rymel doubled down the right field line. Campbell scored on a wild pitch and with two outs courtesy runner Taylor Estes scored on a RBI single by McKewon to push RSU’s lead to 4-0.
In the bottom of the frame, the Eagles started to chip away at the deficit. JU used back-to-back hits to put runners on the corners for Cameron Balough who hit a RBI singled up the middle. With one out, Spainhoward loaded the bases by hitting Josh Raymond with a pitch. Tony Rallo followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to cut the RSU lead in half.
The Hillcats answered in the top of the fourth, as Rivera tallied a one-out single up the middle and scored on a double to deep center field by Rymel. Cody Campbell followed with a two-out two-run blast over the centerfield fence to push the Hillcat lead to 7-2.
Spainhoward went on to retire the next 12 batters and RSU tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the fifth with three consecutive singles to load the bases, followed by a two RBI single to shallow right field by Colton Campbell.
Senior Drew Taylor came in to pitch in the bottom of the eighth and walked the leadoff hitter, Elliot Bajda. With one out, Balough belted a two-run home run over the left field fence on a 2-2 count. Taylor retired the next two batters to get out of the inning and the Hillcats led 9-4 going into the ninth.
RSU senior pitcher Zack Williams closed out the ninth inning but the Eagles battle in the final frame. With two outs, T.J. Swank singled up the middle and Brian Brauer followed with a double to right-center field to send him home. Williams got Bajda to ground out for the final out, giving RSU the win.
Spainhoward (9-2) received the victory on the mound for RSU as he sprinkled four hits across seven innings, allowing two runs while fanning five.
Tyler Ware was tagged with the loss for Judson as he allowed four runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Rivera went 4-for-6 with two RBI while Rymel went 3-for-5 with one RBI and two doubles.
Rogers State (43-14) will return to action on Friday as the Cats take on the winner of game three between top seeded Oklahoma Baptist and the tournament host fourth seeded Tabor at 2:30 p.m. Live audio streaming will be provided at www.rsuhillcats.com/live.