DURANT, OKLA. - For the first time as a member of the Great American Conference, the East Central University baseball team will be playing in the GAC Championship Tournament after clinching its spot with a 9-7 victory over Southeastern in 11 innings.
The Tigers (16-26, 15-16 GAC) were led by junior Trevor Huie, who tallied three hits, two runs and an RBI. Juniors Jake MeKeel and Kaleb Matthews added two hits and two RBIs, as a group of six ECU players with multiple hits in the game.
Junior Dylan Sanchez earned the win, throwing the final three innings, allowing no hits or runs and striking out two. Sophomore Brandon Dusenberry started the game and threw eight innings, with five Ks to his credit.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the top of the third on a solo home run by Huie. However, the Savage Storm (25-22, 19-12 GAC) knotted the game up right away with a run in the bottom of the inning.
The top of the sixth saw ECU push back out to a 3-1 advantage. Matthews singled and scored when junior Trey Mound doubled to left center. Sophomore Jacob Cowling kept things going with a single, but the next batter hit into a double play. The final two runs were scored when sophomore Austin LoBue homered to left field.
But again, Southeastern countered with three runs of its own in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at four-all.
The Tigers then added three more runs in the seventh for a 7-3 lead. Junior Kodiak O'Ravez singled, stole second and advanced to third on a fly-out by senior Kris Molter. That set up MeKeel for an RBI with a single, and Matthews for two RBIs with a home run to right.
The Savage Storm again scored in the bottom of the inning, but this time only added one run for a 7-4 ECU advantage.
The lead was short lived, as Southeastern forced yet another tie score with a two-run eighth inning.
Both teams went three-and-out in the next two innings before the Tigers were able to claim the victory in the 11th. After the first out, Huie singled and O'Ravez was walked to put runners in scoring position. Molter earned the first RBI with a double down the left field line and MeKeel claimed a second with a single to left.
With ECU up 9-7 it fell on its defense to secure the win, and it came through sending the Savage Storm down in order.
The teams will wrap up the series, Sunday, April 30 with a doubleheader set to start at 1 p.m.