ECU Baseball Defeats Northwestern 8-3 in Series Opener

The East Central University baseball team broke a seven-game losing streak with an 8-3 win over Northwestern Oklahoma State at Tiger Field.

The Tigers (9-30, 3-22 GAC) tallied 15 hits to the Rangers (19-22, 8-17 GAC) seven, including multi-hit games from six of the nine batters in the line-up. Junior Kyle Watase led ECU with three hits, including his first home run of the season, and two RBIs. Senior Justin Gibson also garnered three hits and an RBI.

Senior Robert Buitrago picked up his first win on the mound for the Tigers this season (1-8), throwing seven innings, allowing four hits, one run (unearned) and striking out two. Senior Gabriel Martinez threw the last two innings, allowing three hits and two runs.

ECU was the first to get on the scoreboard with a single run in the bottom of the fifth. Senior Andrew Olson started things off with a bunt single to third and advanced to second on a balk. That put him in scoring position for junior Brede Kochi to send him home on a single up the middle.

The Rangers tied the game at one in the top of the sixth.

However, the Tigers responded in the seventh in a big way, scoring seven runs for an 8-1 advantage. After the first two batters were sent back to the dugout, junior Eric Swann started the rally with a walk. Kochi joined him on base with a single through the left side and Gibson sent him home on a single up the middle. Junior Jacob Caton added two more RBIs with a single up the middle and he advanced to second on the throw home.

Senior Benny Woodard sent a third run home with a single up the middle. Woodard then scored when Watase sent a ball over the right field fence for his first home run of the season. Senior Mac Grace kept the rally going with a double to left field. When he went to steal third the throw was errant and allowed him to score the final run of the inning.

Northwestern tried to make a come-back in the final two innings, scoring a run in each, but it was not enough and ECU earned the 8-3 win.

The teams will finish the three-game series, Saturday, April 20 with a double-header scheduled to start at 1 p.m. The game will also feature a free Crawfish Boil. Fans will have the opportunity to talk with current and former players and coaches as it is Alumni Weekend at ECU.

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