If not for a nightmarish third inning, Verdigris might have earned itself a win over Class 6A powerhouse Tulsa Union.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, its five run surrendered during that frame spelled disaster in a 6-4 road loss Thursday night. They rallied with three runs in the seventh, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
Union (11-5) began the spurt when Ryan Jones bunted into a fielder’s choice, scoring Brody Briggs, and Avery Ortiz then blasted a 3-RBI triple to center field three at-bats later to make it a 4-0 advantage. Preston Petty, Jones and Jaydn McNealy scored on the momentous hit.
Ortiz scored moments later after Bryce Ashlock grounded out to Verdigris third baseman Reese Roller.
The Cardinals (11-2) responded in the fourth with Evan Anderson scoring on a Luke Zaferes sacrifice fly, trimming the deficit to 5-1.
However, Union increased its lead back to five runs in the fifth when McNealy scored on a passed ball. Verdigris failed to answer in the sixth, but Jaren Keith made things interesting once more with a line-drive triple to left field, scoring Zaferes and Odin McConnell.
Feeding off that energy, Roller drove in Keith only two pitches later to bring the tally to 6-4.
Those scores came with two outs, though, and the Cardinals failed to complete the rally because of those odds.
Roller led all batters with a 2-for-4 outing at the plate. Union managed only three hits in all as Verdigris used five pitchers to keep it off balance.
Aaron Buntin took the loss on the mound for the Cardinals, allowing one hit, five runs and a walk on 38 pitches through one inning. Cody Bressie experienced the most success of the quintet, tallying three strikeouts on 23 pitches in two innings of action.
Thomas Bulleigh was credited with the win for Union, lasting the full seven innings. He tossed three strikeouts while allowing five hits and four walks on 122 pitches.
Verdigris will try to get back to its winning ways when it hosts Adair at 5 p.m. Friday.