OZARK, Mo. – A valiant effort from the Evangel baseball team pushed Peru State to the brink before coming up short, 8-7, in an elimination round of the 2018 Heart Baseball Tournament.
Peru State built an early 4-0 lead before Evangel pulled within a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Crusaders scored all three runs with two outs on three hits and a pair of errors by the Bobcats.
Evangel briefly took a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning when Dylan Bradshaw walked and Gabe Franklin singled followed by a Jose Vargas hit by the pitch to load the bases. After a Peru State pitching change, Ryan Frye walked to push home Bradshaw with the RBI.
Peru State answered with three runs in the top of the seventh inning aided by a two-run home run before the Crusaders tied the game at 7-7 in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single from Franklin. The game held in a tie into the 10th inning.
The Bobcats took the lead on a solo home run from Jordan Kelly as Evangel rallied with two outs, but left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning.
Bret Hoffman tossed the first six inning scattering nine hits and giving up six runs before Dustin Eby entered with nobody out. Eby pitched the final four innings after starting Saturday's game against Central Methodist. The senior was gutsy in his final game as a Crusader allowing just two runs on six hits and two strikeouts.
Evangel ends its season at 28-28 after entering the tournament as the No. 4 seed. The 28 wins are the most for the Crusaders since 2014 and the most wins under head coach Russell Brand. Brand has guided Evangel to a better record in each of his first three seasons with the Crusaders.
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.