The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 29, 2012

Connors holds off Jets rally


Enid News and Eagle

WARNER —  — Connors’ Jiro Morales struck out Brandon Ruiz and Logan Bradley with the tying run on second in the top of the ninth to preserve the Cowboys’ 5-3 win over Northern Oklahoma College Enid in junior college baseball action Thursday.

The Jets, down 5-2, had rallied in the ninth. J.R. Head led off with a home run over the left field fence. Christian Faulkner was hit by a pitch and went to second on a single by Blake Callaway.

The two runners advanced a base on a sacrifice by Dusty Harper, but Morales got out of trouble by striking out the Jets’ No. 5 and No. 6 hitters.

The Jets dropped to 23-9 with the loss, while Connors now is 21-4.

“We gave ourselves a chance,’’ said NOC Enid assistant coach Scott Mansfield. “All you can ask for is a chance. We had the guys we really wanted at the plate.’’

Morales struck out eight and walked four, while giving up nine hits in going the distance.

The Jets scored single runs in the first and fourth.

“We made him dig down deep and compete on every pitch,’’ Mansfield said. “I thought we played extremely well. We’re proud of the guys. They never gave up, and they never thought they were out of the game.’’

The Cowboys, though, made the most of their eight hits, scoring four runs in the fourth and one in the fifth.

NOC Enid starter Jonathan Johnson retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced before running into trouble in the fourth. Connors had five of its eight hits in the fourth.

Jacob Barton singled to left for Connors’ first hit and came home an out later when Christopher Tavares homered over the left field wall. Braden Cook doubled and scored after a walk to Eli Rountree and a double. A single by Dalton Daniels drove in the final run.

The Cowboys added an insurance run in the fifth when Angel Flores singled and scored after a ground out, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly.

“They strung some hits together when they had people in scoring position,’’ Mansfield said. “That’s baseball. All we asked of Jonathan was to give us an opportunity to win, and he did that.’’

NOC Enid opened the scoring in the first when Head singled, stole second, went to third on a fly out and scored when Callaway grounded out.

The Jets went up 2-0 in the fourth when Bradley reached on an error and scored after singles by Tanner Cruts and Tyler Wilkins. Cruts was 3-for-3 for the day while Head was 2-for-5. Faulkner was 2-for-4.

Matt Decker and Tyler Dean combined for three innings of shutout relief. Johnson (3-3) took the loss, allowing seven hits and five runs. He struck out four and walked two.

The Jets will host Rose State in a 1 p.m. doubleheader  Saturday at Failing Field on the NOC Enid campus.