OKLAHOMA CITY – The Drovers finished out the Sooner Athletic Conference 2-1 with both a win and a loss on Friday at Oklahoma City University.
Because Thursday’s tournament games were moved to Friday, the Drovers (40-17) played two games, crushing Mid-America Christian 14-1 before ultimately falling to (1) Oklahoma City 4-2.
The Drovers had no trouble against eighth-seeded Mid-America Christian in the Friday afternoon game.
“Against Mid-America Christian, we came out and played really well,” Head Coach Mike Ross said. “We took care of business.”
With Seth Sturgeon on the mound, the Drovers drove 14 runs in past the Evangels. Left fielder Jared Coon had three hits, scored one and drove in four others during the game.
Shortstop Konrad Mueller went 2-for-3, scoring two runs and batting in three runners for the game.
First baseman Zach Gonzalez scored three of the Drovers’ runs and was credited with an RBI.
Robert Summers and Austin Ardrey each scored two runs in the game, while Brian Vigo, Chance Hill, Hayden George and Blake Pruett each scored a run.
Sturgeon (9-2) struck out six batters while giving up just one run and no walks. He earned his ninth win of the season, which ties teammate Blake McMullen in wins and is second in school history for single season wins.
Hours later, the Drovers faced No. 1 Oklahoma City at their home field. Home and away teams, however, were chosen by a coin flip, and the Drovers were named the home team with the opportunity to bat second in the game.
The Drovers struggled early in the game, giving up a run to Jonathan Sigado in the first inning, and then a two-RBI homer to Chris Munoz in the second.
USAO gave up just one more run before starting their seventh-inning rally.
Trailing 4-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Pruett, the Drovers’ right fielder, hit his third home run of the season to score both himself and Ardrey, who was courtesy running for catcher Owen Adams.
Chris Fischer (5-4) pitched 7.1 innings of the game, throwing 120 pitches. He struck out eight batters. Finishing the game was Josh Goodman. He faced just seven batters and didn’t give up a single hit.
OCU advances to the SAC Championship, which are scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Oklahoma City’s stadium against second-seeded Lubbock Christian.
The Drovers will have to rely on an at-large bid to the 2013 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round, which is next week. Qualifiers are scheduled to be released Sunday.
“OCU was a tough one to swallow, but I’m so proud of how our guys played this week,” Ross said. “I just hope it’s enough to give us the opportunity to play in the national tournament.”