Chris Brannick, Director of Sports Media Relations
EDMOND – Justin Brown capped a three-run bottom of the ninth inning for the University of Central Oklahoma baseball team with a walk-off RBI-single to deep left center to score Caleb Peters and send the Bronchos to a 7-6 win over third-ranked Central Missouri Sunday afternoon at Wendell Simmons Field.
The Bronchos improved to 21-9 on the season with the win and moved one game ahead of UCM in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association standings at 13-3. Central Missouri is 21-6 on the season and 12-4 in league play. The Bronchos took the three-game MIAA series 2-1.
“They just never gave up,” UCO head baseball coach John Martin said. “We weren’t playing very good baseball through a little more than half of the game today, but the guys kept fighting. I’m proud of them for that. To be able to come back and win a game against a good team like that is a big deal and that will go a long way for us down the road.”
UCO trailed 5-1 heading to the bottom of the seventh. The Bronchos scored twice in that inning, then another one in the eighth. Central Missouri though added one more in the top of the ninth as a bit of insurance, going up 6-4, but the Bronchos wouldn’t be deterred.
T.J. Sparr snuck a one-out single to the shortstop to get the rally going. Xavier Freeman was hit by a pitch on the next at bat, and Brock Ruminer came on to pinch-run for him. Then Bryant Klusener singled through the right side to score Sparr and make it 6-5.
Caleb Peters then smacked a 1-0 pitch down the right field line for a triple that scored Ruminer and tied the game, 6-6. Klusener was thrown out on the play though at home. Brown then came to the plate.
He fouled off the first pitch he saw from UCM closer Luke Mercer. He then smashed a deep fly-ball to left center. Peters jogged home as the ball fell between the two Central Missouri outfielders and the Bronchos mobbed Brown at second base.
Brown finished the day 1-for-5.
Josh Rutland picked up the win for the Bronchos and improved to 2-0 on the season after pitching the top of the ninth. UCO used seven pitchers Sunday. JJ Rogers started and threw 3 2/3 innings, allowing nine hits and four earned runs.
Junior Obeso, Will Olds, Landon Bond, J.D. Cameron, and Ben Wusterbarth all combined for relief work before Rutland came on to finish the day.
Kyle Miskovsky led the UCO offensive charge Sunday. He went 4-for-4 with a double, and two runs scored. He scored in the seventh as part of the late Broncho surge. He singled then, moved to second on a Paul Kropf single, third on a wild pitch, and scored when Sparr singled. Miskovksky also walked in the eighth inning and scored off a wild pitch that gave the Bronchos a late run.
Kropf finished the day 3-for-5, all singles. He singled behind Miskovsky in the seventh and also scored on Sparr’s base hit.
Sparr, went 2-for-4 on the day. His single in the seventh scored both Miskovsky and Kropf.
Central Oklahoma will continue an eight-game homestand next week. The Bronchos host Northeastern State on Tuesday, and Lindenwood for three next weekend.