OAKLAND CITY, IN (WFIE) - In a battle of NCCAA Mid-East Region rivals, the Mighty Oaks baseball team, holding the seventh ranking in the NCCAA national list, hosted the Tigers of Hiwassee College, ranked fifth. The Tigers entered with a record of 20-8, while the Oaks stood at 17-11, including a doubleheader split on March 29, with Hiwassee winning game one 2-1, and OCU taking game two 11-3.
In the first game, both teams plated a runner in the fourth, Hiwassee scored two more in the fifth, followed by an OCU run in the bottom half. The Oaks took advantage of their opportunity in the sixth, scoring two more, then held off a Hiwassee College rally to win 4-3.
Dillon Whitten pitched six innings to earn the win, allowing three runs, all earned, on five hits and a walk, while striking out 10 batters. Justin Hallum came in for the save, pitching a perfect seventh. Hallum’s save was his first of the season, while Whitten improved to 7-1 on the year.
None of the OCU batters had more than one hit, as Whitten had the team’s only extra base hit, sending his ninth home run on the year over the fence in center field in the fourth inning. Noah Baugher (1-3), Colton White (1-3), Jacob Bedwell (1-1), Jenrick Rivera (1-3), and Landon Montgomery (1-1) all had singles, while Baugher, Whitten, Rivera, and Austin Morris each had an RBI. White, Whitten, Joseph White, and Will Davis each scored a run, while Bedwell reached on a walk and Montgomery walked and was hit by a pitch.
Game two saw the Tigers get on the board first, again scoring one in the top of the fourth. OCU responded to another Hiwassee run in the fifth, scoring three, followed by another HC run in the fifth. After neither team scored in the sixth or seventh, the game went to an extra inning, where a balk was called with Kyle Stuckey standing on third base, scoring the winning run for the Mighty Oaks.
Tristen Cummings threw the first seven innings for OCU, allowing three runs, one earned, on five hits, while striking out three. Isaiah Barber came in to pitch the eighth, earning the win, his second of the year, while allowing one hit and striking out one batter.
Tyler Shamblin went 2-4 at the plate, with a double and two runs batted in, while Brandon Taylor was also 2-4, with a run scored. Morris was 1-2 with a walk, while Baugher went 1-4 with a walk. Jenrick Rivera drew two walks and drove in a run, while Devan Franz and Bedwell each walked and scored. Stuckey, who had come in to pinch run for Rivera, scored the game’s final run.
The Mighty Oaks, now 19-11, will be back in action on Wednesday, April 17, when they travel to Owensboro, Kentucky, to take on Kentucky Wesleyan College. The first pitch of a single, nine-inning matchup, is scheduled for 2:00 pm.