Hillcats battle back for big road  win at Southwest Baptist

BOLIVAR, Mo. – The Hillcats Baseball team combined for 22 hits and scored 16 runs over a five-inning stretch in the late innings to come from behind and defeat Southwest Baptist 16-9 Tuesday afternoon in a non-conference contest at Dodson Field.

Grant Farris tied a school record, reaching base six times, with four hits and two walks in the game. The senior had go-ahead, two-run homerun in the fifth inning and finished with four RBIs and two runs scored.

Mason Harvey and Christian Merriwether also had four hits each in the contest. Harvey had a pair of doubles and finished with three runs and three RBIs. Merriwether scored three runs.

Joey Lucas came out of the bullpen to pitch four scoreless and hitless innings, picking up his second win of the season. Lucas had five strikeouts and allowed just two base runners, both on walks.

The Hillcats (3-1) fell behind early, as Southwest Baptist (2-2) scored at least one run in the first five innings.

The Bearcats opened up the scoring with a solo homerun in first to take the lead. Southwest Baptist would then hit two more home runs, a pair of two-run shots, in the second and third innings to go up 5-0 after three.

Rogers State would answer back with a five-run inning in the top of the fourth to tie the game. With the bases loaded, Harvey put the Hillcats on the scoreboard with a two-RBI double.

With the bases loaded again later in the inning, Farris had another two-RBI double to cut the deficit to 5-4. The Hillcats would fill the bases back up and Brandon Bradshaw would single home the tying run.

Southwest Baptist would get one back in the bottom half of the inning, but Rogers State responded to take the lead in the top of the fifth.

With runners on second and third, Griffin Keller hit an RBI ground out to tie the game. Two batters later, Farris hit a two-run homer to left field, putting the Hillcats ahead 8-6.

But just like in the fourth, the Hillcats would relinquish the lead as Southwest Baptist loaded the bases, scored on a balk and then hit a two-RBI single to go back in front 9-8.

Christopher Ford would come up with the clutch hit in the sixth inning to put Rogers State back in front for good. Ford would single up the middle to score Bradshaw and Blake Chiaramonte as the Hillcats went ahead 10-9.

Lucas entered the game on the mound for the Hillcats and held the hosts scoreless for the first time all game in the sixth.

After a scoreless seventh for the Hillcats, Rogers State bounced back with their highest-scoring inning of the game in the eighth, plating six runs. Harvey doubled to left center scoring Merriwether and the scored with Zack Mann when Keller doubled down the right field line.

Then Nick Follett singled to score Keller and Follett would then score the final run of the game on a single by Bradshaw, which also brought around Farris ahead of him.

All nine Hillcats had at least one hit in the game, with seven players recording multi-hit games.

The Hillcats will now host Southwest Baptist this weekend at the Diamond Sports Complex. Game dates and times are to be announced due to changing forecasts in the region. Updated dates and times will be made available when announced.