The University of Central Oklahoma baseball team mounted an improbable comeback Tuesday afternoon and beat Oklahoma Baptist, 14-9, in a non-conference matchup at Bobby Cox Field.
Central Oklahoma is now 10-2 on the season and ran its win streak to seven games with the victory.
"We never quit fighting and that's something to be proud of," UCO head coach John Martin said. "We put ourselves in a hole and OBU is a really good team, but we didn't quit and found a way to win."
UCO trailed 8-0 in the third, and 9-2 in the fourth, but rattled off 12 unanswered to earn the comeback.
Eight players had at least one hit, and four Bronchos had multiple hits. Joe Mondragon went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Philip Scott (2-for-5), Chase Freeman (2-for-4), and Dru Barrier (2-for-4) all had a pair of base knocks. Eight players also scored at least one run on the afternoon.
Central Oklahoma threatened in the top of the first. Zac Freeman reached on a fielding error by the OBU second baseman to leadoff the inning. He moved to second on a Colton Bertus groundout, but when Scott grounded out to third, Freeman tried to not only take third, but score too, and was thrown out in a run down between third and home.
The Bronchos threatened again in the second. Mondragon got the first hit of the game for the Bronchos and Chase Freeman followed him with a double. But with those two in scoring position, UCO struck out for second- and third-outs of the inning.
Nick Vickers got the start for the Bronchos Tuesday. The senior lefty threw 2 1/3, allowing four runs on three hits and four walks. Brayden Nelson came in for Vickers in the third with the bases loaded. He then gave up four runs on three hits, including a two-run home run.
Central trailed 1-0 heading into the third. The Bronchos trailed 8-0 after three innings.
UCO had a response. Kyle Crowl was hit by a pitch to leadoff the fourth, then Mondragon reached on a fielder's choice. Chase Freeman followed that with a triple for his second hit of the game to score Mondragon and put the Bronchos on the scoreboard. Mason Carrier added a sacrifice fly to follow that and scored Chase Freeman to make it 8-2.
After giving up another run in the fourth, Central rallied in the top of the fifth and did so with two outs. Bertus drew a walk and Scott followed with a single through the left side. Crowl then smacked a single to center field to score Bertus. Mondragon added a single to right center to score both Scott and Crowl and bring the deficit to 9-5.
After a scoreless sixth, Central made its big push in the seventh.
Scott led off with a double to right center, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Crowl then reached on a throwing error by the OBU shortstop to score Scott. And Mondragon followed that with a single through the left side.
After Carrier drew a walk, Carson Green smacked a two-RBI single through the left side to score Mondragon and Crowl and make it 9-8. Barrier then drew a walk to load the bases and Central got a follow-up walk from Zac Freeman to score Ryan Harrel, who pinch-ran for Carrier, and tie the game, 9-9.
Bertus then drove in the game-winning run, popping an RBI single to right center to score Green and give the Bronchos a 10-9 lead.
Central added four more insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning. Mondragon scored his third run of the game on a wild pitch, Chase Freeman scored for the second time on an RBI single by Barrier, Brock Schaffer scored on a bases loaded walk, and Green scored again on a sacrifice-fly by Scott.
Central used seven pitchers Tuesday. After Vickers and Nelson gave up eight, Lawson Isaacs came on to pitch one inning. He allowed one run on two hits. Brady Smith allowed one hit in his one inning of work, striking out a pair of batters. Then Jacob Bailey, who would get the win on the day, threw one inning of work.
Kyler Patterson was best in show Tuesday. He threw the bottom of the seventh and the bottom of the eighth, striking out a game-high four, and allowed just one hit.
Beaux Bonvillain added three strikeouts in the ninth to close out the Broncho victory. Of the six UCO relievers that entered the game, none of them issued a walk.
UCO is back in action this weekend and opens conference play. The Bronchos host Newman in a three-game series at Wendell Simmons Field with the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association series beginning Friday at 5 p.m.