The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

April 30, 2014

NOC Enid splits with Murray to keep title hopes alive

ENID, Okla. — Two Northern Oklahoma College Enid baseball teams showed up at David Allen Memorial Ballpark Wednesday in an Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference showdown with defending national champion Murray State.

The first struggled at the plate (leaving four runners on third) and in the field (two crucial errors helped the Aggies score five runs in the fourth) in falling to Murray State 6-1.

The second had clutch hitting (Ieft only three runs), got some power hitting (home runs from Korbin Polston and Nick Yoning), good defense (no errors) and a solid pitching performance from Austin Hilton in a 7-3 victory over the Aggies.

NOC Enid (30-21, 10-8) kept its hopes alive for a conference championship with a split, but the Jets must sweep Murray State (31-17, 12-6) Friday to take the crown.

“We know we have a tough road ahead of us, but we’re still in it,’’ said Jets head coach Raydon Leaton. “We’re going to do everything we can to win the first one, and then worry about Game 2.’’

Hilton settled down well after giving up a two-run homer to Austin Stewart in the third inning of the second game.

He allowed only two hits over the last four 42⁄3 innings, striking out two, and walking only one. Blake Campo hit a solo homer in the seventh.

Hilton closed the game by hustling to first after first baseman Jerame Littell made a great stop on a grounder by Stewart to get the third out.

“I didn’t feel any pressure,’’ Hilton said. “I knew we had to win this game and then win the  two over there to get the conference championship. I had confidence in all of my guys that we were going to get it down.’’

The Jets scored three runs in both the third and the fourth to take control of the game.

Dillon Harp doubled with one on in the third and scored after a single by Dyce Applegate and a sacrifice fly by Patrick O’Toole. Polston homered over the left field fence to clear the bases.

“We knew we had to win this one,’’ Polston said. “We were hitting a lot better the second game. It felt pretty good.’’

Applegate’s two-RBI single was the big blow in the fourth.

Littell walked and scored after a single by Russ Colgan, a fielder’s choice and sacrifice fly by Haden Johnson. Harp hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out but Applegate delivered his fourth hit of the day to make it 6-2.

Yoning opened the sixth with a solo homer to make it 7-2.

“I thought it was going to go foul, but the wind blew it back in,’’ he said.

“We did what we had to do to win the second game,’’ Leaton said. “We got some big hits when needed them and that was the difference in the game. Austin did a good job keeping them off balance. We made some plays (on defense) when we had opportunities to do so. Dyce made a great play in center.’’

Hilton said “everything was working’’ for him.

“When it started to warm up, my arm start to feel a little better,’’ he said. “I always warm up as the game goes on. I just got into the flow. Coach (pitching coach Scott), coach Leaton and all the pitchers put together a good game plan for keep to keep them off balance. I struck to it and it worked.’’

Losing pitcher Jon Chidester allowed only four hits in the opener, but was the victim of bad luck.

The Aggies scored five runs on two hits in the fourth taking advantage of two errors and a hit batsmen. Chase Watt’s two-RBI single was the big blow.

Brance Kahle hit a solo homer in the seventh.

NOC Enid scored its only run in the seventh when Johnson singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Polston single.

“We didn’t play good enough defensively in the first game,’’ Leaton said. “We gave them six outs that one inning. We didn’t swing it well and we didn’t get the hits when we needed them.’’

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