OZARK, Mo. – A late rally came up just short for the Evangel baseball team on Saturday evening falling 16-12, to Central Methodist in the second round of the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Crusaders and Eagles traded punches early as Central Methodist took a 3-0 lead with two runs in the first and another in the second. Evangel answered when Tanner McVey hit his second home run of the tournament, a 2-run shot to right.
Evangel tied the game in the fourth on a solo homer from Ryan Frye to straightaway center. CMU continued the back-and-forth with two runs in the bottom of the fourth before a triple from Jordan Yates scored Patrick Gaul and an RBI groundout from McVey tied the game at 5-5.
Central Methodist broke the game open in the fifth inning with nine runs on five hits and an error to build a 14-5 lead.
However, Evangel would not go quietly.
Jose Vargas would smash a solo homer to center to add a run for Evangel in the top of the sixth inning to start the comeback. A lead-off triple from Ryan Frye gave Evangel another run in the eighth inning when Harrison Stevens drove him in.
Then the ninth inning saw Evangel score five runs on six hits with RBIs from Stevens, Patrick Gaul, Jordan Yates, and Dustin Hargus. Gaul and Yates each finished with three hits while McVey was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a home run.
Starter Dustin Eby found trouble in the fifth inning after scattering nine hits and a walk. The Evangel bullpen allowed nine runs, while Mason Baur and Tyler Collison each pitched hitless innings in relief.
Both teams tallied 15 hits each in a game that saw a combined 28 runs. Evangel left 11 runners on base while CMU left five.
Evangel faces an elimination game Sunday morning at 10 a.m. against Peru State.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EvangelAthletics or go to www.EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Go Evangel Front Row App at EvangelAthletics.com/FrontRow available on Google Play and in the App Store.