UCO beats SNU in non-conference matchup

The University of Central Oklahoma baseball team beat Southern Nazarene Tuesday night at Wendell Simmons Field 17-7.

UCO is now 4-3 on the season and will play Thursday at Emporia State. The The series was shifted up in the week due to the projected forecast of rain.

The Bronchos got off to a fast start against the Crimson Storm from Bethany. UCO scored at least one run every time they were at bat. UCO also had a good day on the mound, striking out 12 SNU batters.

“We played well today and it’s just good to see the guys get some confidence going,” UCO head baseball coach John Martin said. “Once you see the ball come off the bat and you get some things going, it just builds confidence, and we need more of that. We’ve got a talented ball club and we’re going to have to work really hard this weekend to keep it going.”

Brayden Nelson, the pitcher from Piedmont, Oklahoma, got the start for the Bronchos Tuesday night. He threw just two innings in what was predetermined would be a bullpen game for both squads. Nelson got the win after striking out four and retiring each of the first six SNU batters without allowing a hit or a walk

UCO blew the game open in the second inning.

Zac Freeman got on base with a walk, then stole second and third base. When Ryan Harrel hit a single to right field, Freeman scored.

After Joe Mondragon was hit by a pitch and Garrett Takamatsu walked, Philip Scott hit a grand slam to give UCO a 7-0 lead.

In the third inning, Harrel’s single to right field scored Brett Hopkins to give Harrel another RBI.

In the fourth, the Bronchos scored three more runs to go ahead 11-3. Hopkins scored Takamatsu on a single to shortstop then Scott scored on a failed pickoff. Freeman scored Hopkins with a single to left to give UCO the eight-run lead.

The Bronchos were able to get going in the fifth. Takamatsu singled to center field to score Mondragon and Bertus. Shane Nixon singled to score Takamatsu, and Freeman singled to score Nixon and Scott, giving UCO a commanding 16-3 lead.

Kameron Kilchrist’s RBI single to left field in the bottom of the sixth made it 17-3.

Five UCO players finished with multiple hits. Mondragon went 3-for-3 with three runs scored. Takamatsu went 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs. Scott was 2-for-3 with three runs and five RBIs. Hopkins went 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI. Harrel was 2-for-3 with a run scored and one RBI.

Kilchrist and Nixon both added a hit each to give the Bronchos 16 in the game, which is a season-high in hits for UCO in 2021.

Nelson struck out four players in just two innings, and she set the tone for the day for the Bronchos. Lawson Isaacs threw one inning and allowed two runs on two hits while striking out one. Jake Terry threw one inning and gave up one run on one hit and also struck out one batter.

The Bronchos will play at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Oklahoma Christian at Emporia State.

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