Hutchinson, Kan. – A late rally by the Tabor College baseball team was not enough to knock off the top seed in the opening round of the NAIA national baseball tournament. The No. 4 seeded Bluejays who nearly erased a five-run deficit fell to No. 1 seeded Oklahoma Baptist University Thursday evening at Hobart-Detter Field in Hutchinson, Kan.
Trailing 7-2 heading into the top of the sixth the Bluejays rallied scoring four runs in the inning to pull with one at 7-6. Tabor took advantage of two hit batters and two Bison errors on their way to its biggest offensive inning of the game. Senior Colby Tessendorf drove in a run with an RBI single while junior Art Corona added an RBI groundout in the inning.
After holding Oklahoma Baptist scoreless in the six the Bison rebounded in the bottom of the seventh scoring three runs in the inning to extend their lead to four at 10-6. The three-run inning by the Bison was aided by a sacrifice fly and a two-out RBI single that drove in two.
The four-run advantage late in the game was too much for Tabor to overcome as Oklahoma Baptist held the Bluejays hitless over the final two innings of play to advance in the winners half of the bracket.
Tabor will advance to the losers bracket and will await the winner of fifth-seeded Dakota State University, and second-seeded Judson University. Game time for the Bluejays is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday night in what will be an elimination game for both teams.
Corona led the Bluejays at the plate and got Tabor off to a great start with an RBI triple to leadoff the game. Two batters later junior Koby Temple drove Corona on an RBI single to give Tabor the first lead of the game at 1-0. Corona finished the game going 1-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Temple also went 1-4 with an RBI.
Oklahoma Baptist would answer the Bluejays first inning run with a run of their own in the bottom of the first, before exploding for four more runs in the bottom of the second to take a 5-1 lead. Tabor would get a run back in the top of the fifth as senior Adam McCormick scored on a wild pitch to round out the scoring in the game for the Bluejays.
Senior David Ormiston got the start and lasted six innings allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits while striking out two. Three other Bluejays came in to pitch the final three innings of work allowing just one hit while striking out one.
Oklahoma Baptist out hit Tabor 12-6 with both teams committing three errors apiece in the game. Both teams also left runners on base all night long as the Bison stranded 12 runners and the Bluejays stranded nine runners.