Stars steal game three from Pilots to avoid sweep
March 22, 2007
Oklahoma City, OK---The LSUS Pilots (18-6) were staring at a 10-3 lead in the bottom of the 6th inning Wednesday afternoon, three innings away from a three game series sweep over the No. 2 Oklahoma City Stars (28-7). The Stars however pushed across five runs in the 6th, three runs in the 7th, and closed the door on a Pilots rally in the 9th to escape with an 11-10 victory.
Kody Keiser belted his 13th homerun off Pilots starter Blake Pinkston in the bottom of the first inning giving OCU an early 1-0 lead. The Stars threatened to add to their lead by sending Bobby Spain from second base after a single to right field by David Dennis, but Spain was gunned down at the plate after Colin Moro delivered a strike to the plate in time to get the diving Spain for the third out of the inning.
The Pilots erased the early 1-0 deficit after Bryan Cooksey drove a fastball offering from OCU starter Phil Burlleski to deep right center field which scored Moro and Jeff Ledet who started the inning with back-to-back hits. The Stars defense ended the Pilots rally with a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of David McGhee, keeping the LSUS at 2-1.
OCU entered Wednesday’s contest with 52 homeruns on the year, but it was the Pilots who used the long ball to plate six runs in the top of the 3rd inning.
With one out, Pilots catcher Brent Lavallee connected on his second homerun of the series to left field. Bryan Stebbings followed with a single up the middle and advanced to second base after Moro was hit by a pitch. Chris Frye followed with his third round-tripper of the year to deep left-center field pushing the Pilots lead to 7-1. LSUS added another run one batter later after Cooksey belted his first homerun of the season extending the Pilots lead to 8-1.
Pinkston allowed a solo-run in the bottom of the 4th when Corbett Thompson came through with a two out RBI single scoring Brandon Harrigan who led off the inning with a single to right field.
LSUS once again matched the Stars run one half inning later after Cooksey blasted a solo-shot to straight away center field making the score 9-2.
The Pilots right hander kept the potent Stars offense in check through 5.2 innings, but a homerun to deep left field sparked a five run Star rally. With two outs, Ryan Rachal hit a line drive to center field that tipped of the glove of a diving Frye for a triple. The Stars would add four runs on four hits before Pilots reliever Paul Marlow who came on with two out managed to strikeout Justin Funk to end the inning.
OCU capitalized on two hit by pitches and a two RBI single off Marlow by Spain to take an 11-10 lead in the bottom of the 8th.
In the 9th, McGhee led off with a double to shallow right-center field. Brandon Magierowski popped up a bunt attempt for the first out, but McGhee advanced to third one pitch later via a stolen base and represented the tying run with one out.
A Lavallee strikeout and a Stebbings fly-out to left field however stranded McGhee at third, and the Stars salvaged an 11-10 victory to avoid the three game sweep on their home turf.
Pinkston allowed seven runs on 12 hits and three walks while striking out four in 5.2 innings of work. Marlow suffered the loss allowing four runs in just 0.1 complete innings.
Cooksey led the Pilots offense finishing 3-for-4 which included a double, two homeruns, and four RBI. Lavallee finished 2-for-4 with a homerun while Frye added a 2-for-5 performance which was highlighted by a three-run homerun in the top of the 3rd inning.
The OCU offense was led by a 5-for-5 performance from Spain which included two doubles, a homerun, four RBI and two runs scored. Thompson finished 3-for-4 with a homerun while teammates Keiser and Rachal each collected two hits and two runs respectively.
LSUS will look to improve on their 18-6 record Friday night when they travel to Mobile, AL to take on the University of Mobile Rams in game one of a three game Gulf Coast Athletic Conference series. The Pilots have posted a 12-3 record on the road this season while playing just nine games at home where they are 6-3.
Despite posting a 5-2 record over the seven games heading into the three game set against OCU, the Pilots dropped 17 spots to No. 28 in the latest NAIA rankings. LSUS is now 7-3 in their last 10 contests after taking two games from the No. 2 ranked Stars and currently trail the No. 25 Belhaven College Blazers (20-10) by half a game for top spot in the GCAC.