HAYS, Kan. — The University of Central Oklahoma baseball team beat Fort Hays State 7-2 Sunday afternoon to complete the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association series sweep.
Central Oklahoma is now 16-3 on the season and 5-1 in league play. The Bronchos have won six in a row and 13 out of 14.
"It was good to see the guys compete the way they did to get the sweep," UCO head coach John Martin said. The goal is to win every series and we had that done yesterday, but to see the team compete for a sweep was good to see and I'm glad they got it done."
Carson Green led the way for the Bronchos in Sunday's series finale. The junior catcher went 3-for-4 with a home run and two doubles, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Garrett Takamatsu also had three hits on the day, finishing 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Central scattered 13 hits on the day, four for extra bases. Brett Hopkins and Dru Barrier both had multi-hit games as well.
The Broncho pitching staff did strike out a season-low six in Sunday's win, but that didn't matter in the end. UCO was solid all afternoon in allowing just nine hits and two runs on the day. The Bronchos also walked only two batters in the game.
Central Oklahoma trailed for the first time in the series Sunday. Fort Hays State took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after a two-out double and a pair of singles.
But the Bronchos were quick to respond. In the top of the second, Hopkins led off with a single and Chase Freeman followed with a double. Then, on the first pitch he saw, Green smacked a three-run home run to left field and gave the Bronchos the lead.
Central added to its lead in the fifth. Philip Scott hit a one-out single up the middle before Takamatsu delivered a double down the left field line that scored Scott and gave the Bronchos a 4-1 lead.
Brayden Nelson got the start for the Bronchos and finished the game after 4 2/3 innings with five strikeouts. Nelson allowed six hits, just one walk, and one run in the start – his first of the 2020 season.
Colton Croft was the first out of the bullpen for the Bronchos. The sophomore righty came in and kept Fort Hays State at bay, striking out one batter over 2 1/3 innings of work. He allowed two hits and no runs in preserving Central's 4-1 lead.
That lead became 5-1 in the top of the eighth inning. Green smacked his second double of the game with two outs, then moved to third on a Barrier single. A throwing error followed that and Green scored on the play give the Bronchos a little more cushion.
Chandler Shapard came in in the bottom of the eighth for Croft, and after giving up a solo home run to the leadoff batter, Shapard settled down and got the next three batters out to keep Central ahead 5-2.
The Bronchos wanted a little more though and got it in the top of the ninth. Colton Bertus led off with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and moved to third on a fly-out from Takamatsu. After Joe Mondragon was hit by a pitch and then stole second, Hopkins belted a two-RBI single to right center. That scored both Bertus and Mondragon and gave the Bronchos a 7-2 lead.
Kyler Patterson came on to pitch the ninth for the Bronchos. He got Hays to hit into a pair of groundouts and a pop-up to end the game with a 1-2-3 inning.
Central Oklahoma has one more game on its four-game road swing. The Bronchos will head to Ada, Oklahoma to take on East Central Tuesday at 3 p.m.