CHICKASHA – Led by Brandt Lierle’s record-breaking 32nd career homer, the University of Science and Arts blasted six home runs and took game one over No. 2 Oklahoma City 12-9 Saturday afternoon. OCU answered with a 13-2 game two win to take the series.
Lierle has been steadily marching toward USAO’s home run record since hitting seven homers in the first nine games, but the Hydro native wasn’t the only Drover to reach a record Saturday. Junior pitcher Nate Hammons tied the school record with his ninth win of the season, but it was the Drovers’ late game heroics that stole the upset win in game one.
USAO jumped out to a 5-0 lead until back-to-back OCU homers cut the lead to 5-3 through three innings. With another home run in the sixth, OCU took a 7-6 lead into the final frame.
After two quick outs, Lierle hit his record-setting home run and his 21st of the season to left field to tie the score. Andrew Reyes and Greg Ylda followed with pinch-hit homers that scored five runs and gave USAO a 12-7 cushion.
OCU’s Sammy Lee drove in two runs with a home run in the bottom of the seventh, but Hammons got two consecutive fly outs to end the game.
The teams combined for 10 home runs in game one and posted 19 for the series. USAO added to their team record wins and is now 35-14 overall and tied last year’s record of 15 conference wins in a season.
The Drovers are 15-12 in the league with one series remaining against Northwestern Oklahoma (26-25, 10-17). USAO is in fifth place and two games ahead of Oklahoma Baptist, which wraps up the season with St. Gregory’s (8-43-1, 0-27).
USAO’s final home game of the season will begin at 2 p.m. Thursday at Bill Smith Ballpark against NWOSU. The series will conclude Saturday in Alva at 1 p.m.