The Rogers State Hillcats closed the regular season with a thrilling come-from-behind victory on Sunday, defeating Oklahoma Christian 8-7 on a walk off, solidifying the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Heartland Conference Tournament, while also eliminating OC from postseason play.
The Hillcats went behind early, giving the Eagles four unearned runs on several errors, including an obstruction call against Nick Follett at third that allowed the fourth run for the visitors to score.
Blake Chiaramonte had a sac fly in the middle of the four runs from OC, scoring Brendan Griffith in the bottom of the third, but the Hillcats found themselves behind 4-1 after four innings.
Rogers State made its first comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning, tallying three runs to tie the game. Brandon Bradshaw started the scoring by coming home on a wild pitch. Griffin Keller then scored on a Griffith single up the middle.
For the second time in the game, Griffith would score off the bat of Chiaramonte, who singled to right field to tie the game at 4.
However, the lead wouldn’t last long as Oklahoma Christian capitalized on the fifth error of the game for the Hillcats to score three more runs in the top of the eighth inning. Of the seven runs allowed on Sunday by Rogers State, just two were earned.
After the Hillcats were held scoreless in the eighth, they entered the final inning still trailing by three runs. Follett started the inning off with a walk. Keller then hit a single down the left field line to put runners on first and second.
Griffith then picked up his third hit of the game as he singled to center, loading the bases with no outs.
After a pop out, Dylan Russell brought the first run in when he was hit by pitch to score Follett.
Christian Merriwether then stepped in and singled to right field, scoring Keller and Griffith to tie the game. On the same play, Russell was knocked down by the third baseman as he rounded third, very similar to the play in the fourth inning that the umpires awarded a run to OC on an obstruction call.
Following a two-minute discussion, the umpires ruled obstruction again, this time allowing Russell to take the final 90 feet in walk-off-fashion.
With the win, the Hillcats will be the No. 2 seed in the Heartland Conference Tournament that begins on Thursday. Rogers State will face No. 3 seed Arkansas-Fort Smith at 6:30 p.m. at The Depot in Cleburne, Texas.