OKLAHOMA CITY – The Drovers played a strong ball game with 14 hits and six runs but fell to No. 2 Oklahoma City Stars in the 11th inning of an elimination game in the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round on Friday night at OCU.
The Stars go on to Jamestown (N.D.) in another elimination game at 11 a.m. Saturday.
In the double-elimination tournament, the loss sends the Drovers (41-19) home with the season wrapped. The 2013 season was record breaking one for the Drovers.
In addition to breaking the school record for wins in a season, several players broke single-season school records. It was the Drovers’ first national tournament appearance in program history.
Friday night’s battle was a back-and-forth game that went down to the bottom of 11th before the Stars took the win on controversial call at home.
The Drovers found themselves on the board first in the bottom of the second inning. After a single by center fielder Brian Vigo, Zach Gonzalez hit a homer out to left center on a 1-0 count.
The Stars tied the game in the next inning when Chris Wallis doubled, scoring two. Then, the Stars took their first lead of the night with a two-run homer by Chase Jensen in two innings later.
After two scoreless innings, USAO’s Blake Pruett hit a bomb out to right field to score Gonzalez along with himself to again tie of the game.
An eighth-inning double up the right line scored two for OCU to give them the lead late in the game.
Looking like it might be the end, the Drovers start a ninth-inning rally. With the bases loaded and no outs, Daniel Edwards hit to third to score Hayden George. The Drovers then tied the game with a run by Austin Ardrey on hit by Konrad Mueller.
With those two runs, the game went into extra innings. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Stars’ Jensen, avoided a tag at home by jumping to the right. The home ump called him safe, but USAO head coach Mike Ross argued the call, saying the runner jumped out of the base path. Ultimately, an officials’ conference on the mound determined the runner safe and awarded the win to Oklahoma City.
Seth Sturgeon (9-2) spent 7.1 innings on the mound. He gave up just seven hits to the high-powered Stars. He received a no decision on Friday night as Josh Goodman (5-2) took over on the mound in the eighth and pitched the remaining three innings.
The Drovers return to Chickasha with an historic season under their belt.