NORTHWESTERN LOSES HEARTBREAKER TO NO. 7 OCU IN TOURNEY OPENER

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NORTHWESTERN LOSES HEARTBREAKER TO NO. 7 OCU IN TOURNEY OPENER

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – After a two-hour rain delay and threat of tornadoes around the Oklahoma City metro area, seventh-ranked Oklahoma City came out of a two-hour delay to throw to one batter and end the Rangers comeback hopes, giving Northwestern a heartbreaking first round loss in the 2010 SAC Tournament.

After three walks issued and two singles, Oklahoma City scored a pair of runs in the second inning to take a 2-0 lead.

Northwestern used a five-run fourth inning to take a 5-3 lead, as the first five batters scored. Wade Schwerdtfeger led off the inning reaching via a hit by pitch. Vincent Valdez followed with a double to put runners on second and third. Juan Natal’s double drove in both Valdez and Schwerdtfeger, giving NWOSU its first two runs. Tom O’Gorman reached on a single, before Zach Theademan drove in Natal and advanced O’Gorman to second. O’Gorman scored the Rangers fourth run of the inning after advancing on a wild pitch and scored on Quinton Haynes ground out to second. Richard Burdick single to right to plate Theademan and gave Northwestern the 5-3 advantage.

Oklahoma City quickly responded with seven runs in the top of the fifth inning. The Stars did so on three singles, two walks, a hit batsmen, and a three-run home run to take a 10-5 lead. OCU added another run in the sixth inning on Matt Presley’s solo home run to hold an 11-5 lead.

Northwestern battled back with five more runs in the sixth inning. The first three batters reached on two walks and a single before scoring. Tom O’Gorman’s sacrifice fly scored Schwerdtfeger and Valdez, who reached on his second double of the game, scored on Theademan’s single to pull the Rangers within a run, down 11-10.

Both teams were shut out in the seventh inning, before Valdez hit 14th home run of the season to knot the game at 11-11.

The Stars first two batters in the ninth inning struck with back-to-back homeruns. OCU tacked on two more runs to pull ahead 15-11.

Northwestern didn’t die in the bottom of the ninth inning. Jacob Walsh led off the ninth with a double to left center and was followed by Haynes walk. Walsh scored on Huddleston’s groundout to second base and Haynes crossed home on Schwerdtfeger’s single to the right side.

Down two runs, with two outs, and Clint Dodds courtesy running for Schwerdtfeger, Valdez’ plate appearance was cut short as tornado sirens sounded. After nearly a two-hour rain delay, the game picked up at 6:45. The Stars Matt Presley picked up his first save of the season as he struck out Valdez after the game resumed.

Calvin Wright started on the mound and went 4.2 innings, before giving the relieving duties to Josh Swain, who faced two batters. Wright struck out four batters and gave up eight hits. Chase Kokojan received the loss, pitching three innings and two batters into the ninth inning. Jarad Moore faced six batters while recording three outs in the ninth inning.

Northwestern picked up 15 hits, while the Stars had 16. Valdez paced NWOSU with two doubles and a home run to go 3-for-5 at the plate with two runs batted in and three runs scored. Schwerdtfeger, Theademan, Walsh and Haynes all had two hits.

The Rangers (33-21) were originally scheduled to play Rogers State at 7 p.m., but due to rain, the game has been moved to Tuesday at 10 a.m. The Rangers will meet the Hillcats in an elimination game.