By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Northern Oklahoma College Enid dropped a doubleheader to Rose State (3-2 and 9-2) at David Allen Memorial Ballpark Saturday, but might have found two starting pitchers.
Austin Hannum and Austin Hilton, both of whom were making their first starts of the season, did something Jets pitchers have had trouble doing this season — throw strikes.
Hannum walked only one in four and two-thirds innings in the opener. Hilton walked only one in five and one-third innings in the nightcap. Jets pitchers had walked 101 in 127 1/3 innings before Saturday.
“Those two guys were phenomenal,’’ said Jets coach Raydon Leaton. “We have been talking the last couple of weeks about opportunities to win a spot (in starting rotation). Those guys went out there with that in mind. They were saying give me one of those five (Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic) conference starts.’’
The Jets hurt themselves with “little mistakes.’’ The biggest was in the sixth inning of the nightcap when the Raiders scored six runs, helped by two NOC Enid errors.
Rose State’s Ethan Davis struck out 10 in the first game, while allowing six hits.
“Out of those 10 strikeouts, eight of them weren’t even close to the (strike) zone,’’ Layton said. “We lost our discipline at the plate. We have worked hard on hitting breaking balls, but all they were doing were throwing breaking balls out of the zone and we were chasing them all day.’’
Lane Kirkland went the distance for the Raiders in the second game, allowing seven hits and striking out three, including A.J. Wilson with the bases loaded in the seventh.
“Our pitchers did a good job (hitting) the zone,’’ said Rose State coach Coty Cooper. “When you do that in junior college, you’re going to win some games.’’
The Jets, down 2-0, threatened in the bottom of the fifth in the nightcap. Haden Johnson led off with a single and scored after a double by Dylan Walker and swinging bunt single by T.J. Turner.
However, Walker stayed at second on Turner’s hit, even though there was a throw to first. Aaron McCandless hit a fly ball to left which could have tied the game.
The Raiders answered with six runs in the top of the sixth, ignited when Sammy Terry dropped a fly ball by Garrett Crain to open the inning.
“When you don’t do the little things, it can add up to being big things,’’ Leaton said. “We didn’t do a lot of little things in both games like getting a bunt down or advancing runners that could have made a difference.’’
Terry had both of NOC Enid’s RBIs in the opener with a solo homer in the first and an RBI single in the sixth. Davis got out of early trouble in the first when he struck out Terry with runners on second and third.
Ryan Bottger had two RBI for the Raiders in the opener with a Texas League single in the third and an RBI single in the fifth to score Enid native Joe Black, who had singled and stole second. Rose State’s other run came on a double play in the second.
Korbin Polston was 3-for-4 for the Jets in the nightcap, including an RBI single in the seventh to score Walker, who had reached on an error.
Every Raiders starter had at least one hit in the second game. Black, Derek Jones, Bottger and Tanner Hessman all had RBI singles in the decisive sixth. Crain had a bloop single in the third which fell between three NOC Enid players trying to fight a stiff wind.
Black was one-for-three in the first game and scored a run. He was 1-for-5 in the second game and scored a run.
The two losses dropped the Jets to 4-16 overall. They will go to Butler (Kan.) Community College Monday and Dodge City (Kan.) Community College Tuesday before taking some time off for spring break.
“Our approach to the game the last two doubleheaders has been a lot better,’’ Leaton said. “We’re turning the corner a bit, but we have to continue to do that.’’