From RSU Sports Info.
Sara Williams, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
CLAREMORE – The Chris Klimas era started with a 12-2 Rogers State Baseball victory over Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College on Friday afternoon at the Diamond Sports Complex.
RSU posted a trio of runs in the first frame and never looked back, cruising to the Opening Day win. Caleb Kohlmeyer drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Cesar Rodriguez followed with a RBI single up the middle in his first career at bat to put RSU on the board. Later in the inning,Andrew Vanisi scored on a wild pitch after reaching base on a fielder’s choice. Trae BoBo rounded out the scoring in the first with a single to left-center field.
Rodriguez struck again in the second with a RBI single to left field, bringing Alex Cochran around to score after reaching base on a single. Two errors and a wild pitch led to the Hillcats making it a 5-0 game in the fourth.
RSU continued to pour on the runs in the sixth with a sacrifice fly by Kohlmeyer and Rodriguez tallied his third RBI of the afternoon with a single to right field.
The Saints avoided the shutout in the seventh posting a pair of runs on three hits and the help of one RSU error. The Hillcats erased one of the runs in the bottom of the frame with a solo home run from Zack Ashford.
RSU rounded out the scoring with a four-run eighth. Rodriguez got the offense going in the inning with a ground rule double belted to left field. With the bases loaded, Ryan Hendricks reached on a fielding error that allowed Rodriguez to score. Ashford drove in a run on a fielder’s choice and Cochran tallied a bases-loaded walk to complete the scoring.
Rodriguez led the ball club on offense going 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBI and one run scored. Cochran followed with a 2-for-2 day at the dish, scoring three times while drawing three walks.
Michael Fusselman tallied his first career victory for the Hillcats, hurling five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. Charlie Brady suffered the loss for the Saints, lasting just 1 2/3 innings.
Rogers State (1-0) will return to action on Saturday as the Hillcats complete the three-game series against the Saints with a doubleheader slated for 1 p.m. The game can be viewed live on the Hillcat Network atwww.rsuhillcats.com/live.