Posted: May 10, 2013 9:31 PM
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - No. 2-seed Oklahoma Baptist rallied from an early four-run deficit and defeated fourth-seed Central Methodist, 7-6, on Friday in the 2013 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The loss eliminates the Eagles from the postseason.
Central Methodist (25-13) jumped all over Bison starter Jordan Morales in the first inning. The Eagles got RBI singles from Jesse Zellner, T.J. Singh, and Mike Allen as they surged to a 4-0 lead.
Oklahoma Baptist (42-18), ranked No. 14 in the country, slowly got back into the game as Anthony Almonte drove in runs in the second and fourth innings, and Jeff Johnson added a sacrifice fly in the third to cut the deficit to 4-3. The Bison continued to pour it on as they scored two runs in the fifth and sixth innings to open a 7-4 lead.
Down to their final three outs, the Eagles had one last rally. A Mike Wagner double to deep right was followed by a Shane Lowe single to left center. Wagner took home on a wild pitch to cut the Bison lead to two runs. Lowe later stole third and scored on a Zellner RBI ground out. However, the comeback wasn't meant to be as Jesus Carlos struck out Singh to end the game.
Oklahoma Baptist was led at the plate by Kevin Hatch and Anthony Almonte who each drove in two runs on three hits. Morales regrouped from his shaky start and allowed just four hits after the first inning to pick up the win and improve to 7-2 on the season.
Lowe led the Eagles going 3-for-5.
Eagles' pitcher Tyler Paule (5-3) took the loss allowing nine hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings of work.