Nightcap Thriller Gives Owls Split With Missouri Baptist
FULTON, MO -- A ninth-inning sacrifice fly from Derek Fletcher gave the William Woods University baseball team a 4-3 extra innings win in the nightcap and allowed the Owls to pick up a split with American Midwest Conference leaders Missouri Baptist University on Friday. Robbie McMorris took the loss for WWU in the opener, while Matt Thomas picked up the win in the nightcap.
Each team was able to collect seven hits in the opener, but the Owls hit into three double plays, squandering threats in the second, fourth and sixth innings. Missouri Baptist scored two in the top of the third and added an insurance run in the top of the fifth.
The Spartans opened up a 2-0 lead in the nightcap, but William Woods was able to cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth. Derek McCawley led off with a single, advancing to second as the throw from Kyle Hardy was slightly late but well off the mark. McCawley moved to third as Robert Butvin grounded out to short, scoring on a passed ball.
In the top of the sixth, a solo shot from Carlos Ruiz pushed the Spartan lead back to 3-1, the the Owls would level the score in the bottom of the inning. WWU drew two walks sandwiched around a strikeout, with another passed ball advancing the runners into scoring position. A single from Thomas pushed across Damon Adrian who was pinch running for the Owls and chased the MBU starter from the game. Chris Fletcher laid down a sacrifice bunt up the first-base line, scoring a pinch-running Ryan Schuermann.
Brian Carr retired the side in order in the top of the seventh, but WWU wasn't able to end the game in the bottom of the frame. Carr managed to get out of the eighth inning unscathed, as he struck out Yeriel Nieves to strand runners at second and third.
Thomas and Carr swapped places defensively in the top of the ninth, with the Owls facing just three batters in the inning. After allowing a leadoff walk, Carr picked off the runner at first before getting the next two batters to fly out to left and ground out to third.
Chris Fletcher led off the bottom of the ninth with a hard-hit double up the third-base line, with the topspin on the ball befuddling the MBU third baseman. Adrian came on as a pinch runner for Fletcher, where the speed would pay dividends for WWU. Zach Woody bunted to the third-base side of the infield, momentarily freezing Hardy. Adrian beat the play at third as Woody reached on the fielder's choice. An intentional walk to Justin Elmore loaded the bases, with Derek Fletcher putting the game to bed as he belted a towering sacrifice fly to center field. Adrian scampered home, giving the Owls a 4-3 win.
WWU moves to 20-10 on the year and with a 6-4 record in AMC play the Owls remain tied with Park Universty for second place. Missouri Baptist moved to 22-11 on the year, falling to 11-3 in AMC action. The two teams meet again on Saturday, with first pitch in the doubleheader set for 1 p.m.