The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 25, 2014

Plainsmen hold off Broncos

By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The Plainsmen are on a win streak for the first time in almost a year.

Enid scored seven unanswered runs in the middle frames as Christian Voitik struck out eight in six innings, notching a long-awaited win for his own ledger, and for the Plainsmen in defeating the home-schooled Oklahoma City Broncos 7-5 Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

Cole Floyd earned his first save of the season, overcoming a shaky start to the seventh after a walk and back-to-back hits to put the Broncos’ potential lead run at the plate with a strikeout and a game-ending double play by Oklahoma City cleanup hitter Graham Mullin.

Voitik limited the Broncos to a single baserunner through two outs in the third inning, striking out four straight batters before a full-count single by Chris Thompson started an Oklahoma City rally. Voitik walked Jake Johnson on four pitches and grazed Isaac Waitman in the helmet after two more to load the bases. Mullin lined a double down the third-base line to clear them and put the Broncos up 3-0.

“Up until about the third or fourth inning, I wasn’t really able to find my spots,” said Voitik, who improved to 1-3 with the win despite four quality starts to begin the season. “My teammates just kept telling me to go out and throw, do what you do.”

Enid then started figuring out Broncos’ starter Tel Johnson. The sophomore retired the first six Plainsmen batters to open the day before Tanner Fore drew a four-pitch walk to open the bottom of the third.

Tanner Lingenfelter advanced Fore to second on a groundout to second — the only time the sophomore outfielder was retired — and a Kros Bay double to left scored Fore. Voitik singled on a rare infield bloop two batters later, dropping a shallow pop between the pitcher’s mound and second base to score courtesy runner Jonny Chavez and pull Enid to within 3-2.

Johnson’s struggles continued into the Enid fourth, walking Braden Rogers, and fumbling Bobby Russell’s sacrifice bunt attempt to put the sophomore outfielder at first. Fore tried another sacrifice a pitch later, but the slow-rolling bunt stopped well short of Mullin at third to load the bases.

Lingenfelter singled to right to score two, Fore scored on a wild pitch to Bay, and Hunter Childs completed a four-run rally in the inning to give Enid a 6-3 lead.

The Plainsmen relied heavily on the bottom third of its order on Tuesday. Fore finished two-for-two with two runs from the seventh spot, followed by sophomores Lingenfelter (2-for-3, two RBI) and Bay (2-for-3, RBI, two runs). Justus Hime scored as a courtesy runner on a wild pitch in the sixth after Bates Enmeier reached on an error.

After an upset win over then-undefeated Choctaw to cap last week’s Edmond-Guthrie Festival, Tuesday’s game-ending play put Enid on its first win streak since April 2013 and pulled the Plainsmen within a game of .500, a mark they haven’t achieved since a 1-1 start on a season-opening split with Ponca City and didn’t see after a 2-2 start to 2013 was followed by five straight defeats.

“It’s early right now, but I can definitely tell we’re gonna be better (than last year),” Floyd said. “We’re younger, but  just everybody is better together.”

Enid hosts 9-1 rival Stillwater at 5 p.m. Thursday at David Allen.