Baseball completes sweep of East Central at home
March 11, 2018
ALVA, Okla. – Northwestern Oklahoma State baseball earned their first Great American Conference series sweep of the 2018 season as they took down East Central University 9-2 and 7-1 on a beautiful day at Myers Stadium. A four-game win streak now has the Rangers back above the .500 mark heading into a big series with Arkansas-Monticello next weekend.
Cole Jackson was on the hill in the first game of the afternoon making his fourth start of the year. The right hander did not disappoint for the Rangers, logging 7.1 innings allowing just one earned run
on five hits while surrendering just one walk.
Northwestern's offense provided their arms plenty of run support, efficiently scoring nine runs on nine hits while also capitalizing on three big errors.
The Rangers scored three in the 1st after two base hits, three free passes and a hit batter gave Jackson room to work early. Harrison Hull earned a painful RBI in the 3rd to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead after getting plunked by ECU starter Alec Lemmon. TJ Kassner drove in another with a line drive single to right field that cashed in Johnnuelle Ponce.
A cool, calm and collected Jackson cruised through the first seven innings, facing two over the minimum after giving up two hits and a walk to give the black-and-red a 5-0 edge heading to the 8th.
East Central collected three straight hits in the top of the 8th to end Jackson's day, leading Ryan Bowen to look to lefty Ryan Marcoccia for the second time in as many days. An error by third baseman Luis Mendoza allowed the Tigers to grab their second run before Marcoccia was able to get the Rangers back in the dugout to strand two.
Northwestern would tack on four more insurance runs thanks to a bases-loaded walk, a Justin Bundy 2 RBI double that cleared the bases after an error by the ECU center fielder. Marcoccia worked around a one out base hit to close out a 9-2 Ranger win.
Looking for their first Great American Conference series sweep of the season, the Rangers sent ace Walker Wharton to the mound in his sixth start. The 6'2 senior has yet to exit a game earlier than the 7th inning, and Saturday's series finale was no different.
The Texan left-hander threw seven strong innings for his third complete game of the year en route to his fifth win.
The Rangers broke it open in the bottom of the 3rd after ECU starter Kiyaanii Bohan issued four straight walks before being lifted. But the reliever fared no better as he walked Ponce on four pitches before Jorin Van Amstel drove in Zickafoose to give the black-and-red a 3-0 advantage.
East Central answered back with one in the fourth after a leadoff double came all the way around to score on a wild throw by Wharton. But Wharton would limit the damage as he sat down the next three Tiger batters.
The crowd at Myers Stadium was on their feet when Zickafoose led off the 5th by tattooing a first-pitch offering over the wall in center for his sixth home run of the year. The Indiana native was 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI's in game two.
Three more runs crossed in the bottom of the 6th to pad Wharton's lead, giving the Rangers a 7-1 victory and the three-game series sweep.
The Rangers will have two days off before traveling to Lawton, Okla. for a midweek showdown with Cameron University. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. as the two teams will play a single 9-inning game, making up a previously postponed date.