The second conference sweep of the season catapults the Braves up the standings with more than a month left in the season.
Timely runs in late innings helped the Ottawa University baseball team secure three wins over the weekend in a home series against the University of Saint Mary. OU won 5-2 on Friday, and both games on Saturday, 8-4 and 7-4.
At 10-18 (7-8 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference), the Braves hit the road for their final series of March. They play three games at Tabor College (20-12, 11-4 KCAC) Thursday and Saturday. The first game is set for 2 p.m. Thursday, with a doubleheader slated to start noon Saturday.
After losing four out of its last five games, Ottawa proved resilient against the Spires. Willies Estrada, junior catcher, set the tone in Friday’s game with a one-out, three-run bomb in the bottom of the first inning.
Only two players reached base for either team until both offenses caught fire in the seventh inning. After Saint Mary scored two in the top of the frame, Chris Morrison, junior shortstop, hit a two-out, two-RBI double to score McKinley Maurer, sophomore outfielder, and Evan Brull, sophomore third baseman.
The Spires managed just two baserunners in the final two innings, and Ottawa won 5-2.
David Mead, senior pitcher, picked up the win after tossing seven innings of two-run ball. He allowed four hits while striking out 10 and walking one.
In Saturday’s early game, Saint Mary took an early 2-0 lead after the top of the first. Ottawa’s offense responded by scoring three runs on three hits in the bottom of the frame. Estrada, Cole Boardman and Sheldon Paramore drove in a run each in the inning.
The Braves didn’t score again until the bottom of the fifth, after the Spires had tied the game in the top of the third. Morrison led off with a triple and scored when Trevor McClanahan, junior outfielder, hit a single in the next at-bat. Hecmart Nieves, senior outfielder, hit an RBI double to score McClanahan, and scored himself on an error by Saint Mary’s Alexis Ramos. Dalton Rankin, freshman second baseman, hit an RBI single to give OU a 7-3 lead. The team went on to win 8-4 with Tyler Quintana hitting an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth.
Matt Haake, senior pitcher, threw seven innings, allowing two earned runs (four total) on seven hits. He struck out six and walked two in the win.
Ottawa’s offense didn’t produce any runs until the bottom of the fourth inning in Saturday’s late game. By that time the Spires had a 3-0 lead, but the Braves got seven runs on eight hits and two errors over the next three frames.
Paramore hit a two-out, two-RBI double in the fourth inning to tie the game. After Saint Mary scored a run in the top of the fifth, OU put together another three-run inning on RBIs by Nieves, Estrada and Boardman.
Quintana hit an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth for an insurance run, and Ottawa won 7-4.
Gatlin Watson, senior pitcher, got the win, tossing seven innings and allowing three earned runs on seven hits. He struck out three an walked zero.
Estrada finished with five total RBIs in the series, and Nieves had five runs scored.