By Sara Williams, RSU Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
LEWISTON, Idaho- The Rogers State baseball team ended it run at the Avista-NAIA World Serieson Monday afternoon as ninth seeded Missouri Baptist tallied a walk-off 5-4 victory over the Hillcats at Harris Field on the campus of Lewis-Clark State.
RSU was plagued with errors, committing a season-high five errors in the game while leaving eight base runners stranded in the contest.
The Hillcats left runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings of the contest but dented the scoreboard first in the top of the fourth. With one out, Cody Campbell drew a walk and Emmanuel De La Cruz followed with a single up the middle to put runners on first and second. Ramcy Lora cleared the bases with a home run blasted over the wall in centerfield.
The Spartans tallied their first hit of the day in the fifth inning as Dan Harper belted a double to deep left-center field. He scored on a RBI groundout by Mykol Sostarich to cut the RSU lead to 3-1. RSU answered in the top of the sixth as De La Cruz led off with a single and courtesy runner Alex Cochran eventually scored on a single by Keith Poverud.
With one out in the sixth, Ryan Gunhouse reached on an error and the Spartans strung together three consecutive singles to score a pair of runs. Reliever Mason Marquette got out of a bases loaded jam with a strikeout to end the inning but MBU shaved the Hillcat lead to 4-3.
RSU clung to the one-run lead until the eighth and the Spartans tallied the equalizer with a two-out rally. Marquette forced the first two Spartans to pop out to the infield but Harper was hit by a pitch and Joseph Taylor drew a walk to keep the inning alive. Sostarich hit a RBI single to shallow left field allowing Harper to score. Jesse Baird entered the game to pitch for RSU and Ryan Clarke grounded out to end the inning.
RSU left a runner stranded on first base to end the top of the ninth and MBU capitalized in the bottom of the inning. Leadoff hitter Patrick Johnson started the inning with a single; Cody Campbell scooped up the ball and made an off balance throw to first base that was off the mark allowing the game winning run to advance to second base. Ryan Gungouse followed with the game-winning RBI single to shallow left field. The hit was enough for the speedy Johnson to slide into home just before the throw at the plate to secure the come-from-behind win.
De La Cruz had his second three-hit game of the season on Monday. The junior from New York, New York went 3-for-4 and was the lone Hillcat with multiple hits in the game.
Jesse Baird (3-3) was tagged with the loss for RSU. The reliever allowed one run on two hits. Starter Kyle Duncan received the no decision tossing 5.1 innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits with two strikeouts. Marquette tallied his longest outing of the season as he pitched 2.1 innings, allowing one run on one hit.
Matt Marsh (3-4) closed out the game and tallied the win for MBU. The junior tossed the final three innings, allowing two hits with three strikeouts.
Twelve RSU seniors end their careers in RSU red and navy. The group played in back-to-back World Series, won a Sooner Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament title and was part of the only team in school history to play for a national championship. Tyler Wheeler, Casey Cassity, Hector Rivera, Brandon Bargas, Keith Poverud, Eric Baker, Shawn Spainhoward, Cody Campbell, McKenzie Mathews, Jesus Del Rosario, Andrew Garrison and Colton Campbell made lasting impressions on the RSU baseball program.
Rogers State ends its season with a 36-24 record and its second consecutive World Series berth.