Courtesy Photo/OBU Athletics
Above: OBU Bison baseball competed against Northwestern February 21 and 22, wining both games (10-13 and 7-12).
The Oklahoma Baptist University Bison faced the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Rangers February 21st.
Jake Lipetzky led the Bison as starting pitcher and took on Scott Cree- don, the Ranger’s starting pitcher.
Entering the matchup, Lipetzky had a 2-1 record as a starter and 29 strikeouts on the season.
His outstanding play would continue against Northwestern, only giving up two hits and a single run in the entire nine innings he pitched.
In the game, Lipetzky amounted nine strike- outs, gave up no walked runners and amassed only 110 pitches, averaging about 12 an inning.
OBU, Joey Pledger, a center fielder, was three for three on hits per at bat, hitting the lone homerun for the Bison, a double and a single.
Equally as important in the team’s success, Ramon Gomez, a designated hitter, batted in three runs on two doubles, the first being in the fifth inning to break the 1-1 tie, and the second and third coming in eighth to extend the Bison lead to five runs.
Early on, the contest was a toss up with neither team being able to break through the opposing defenses’ approach. The first two innings only yielded a total of one hit by Cliff Pradd, shortstop at OBU, who doubled on his first at bat in the first inning.
Scott Creedon of Northwestern was initially efficient against the Bison hitters he faced in the first four innings of the game, but eventually OBU found its groove.
As for Jake Lipetzky of the Bison, he began quite the opposite to Creedon, giving up two hits in the second inning, though they would be the only two he would surrender.
Despite this sluggish start, the Bison would make the fifth inning a turning point in the ball game.
Lipetzky began the Bison run by only needing six pitches in the fifth to obtain three outs, one being a strikeout.
On the offensive side of the ball, OBU amassed three hits in the fifth alone, with Pledger beginning the inning with a double, Gomez batting him in with a double of his own and Eric Carlson, first base- men, with a single to allow Gomez to score and give the Bison a 3-1 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Northwestern made a pitching change from Creedon to Rafael Lara after Lipetzky once again shut out the Rangers in the sixth.
Though Lara walked three straight batters in the sixth, the Ranger’s defense stepped up and stranded all three Bison runners on base maintaining the two-run deficit.
Lipetzky, in the top of the seventh, easily went through the NWOSU batters, only amounting 10 pitches and staying ahead in the count, keeping strikes always in time with any balls he would throw.
The OBU Bison then extended their lead to three runs in the seventh, with Kamana Bartolome, third basemen, having a double and Carlson batting him in home with a double of his own.
Almost rhythmically, Lipetzky obtained two strikeouts in the top of the eighth inning, for his ending total of nine strikeouts, not allowing any momentum switch.
To solidify the victory, the Bison had three consecutive hits to begin the bottom of the eighth, Pledger with a single, Pradd with a double and Gomez batting the two runners in with his own double.
Ramon Enriquez, catcher, secured the win with a sacrifice fly-out to knock in Gomez.
Fittingly, Jake Lipetzky closed out the game and a 7-1 Bison victory.
Afterward the game, coach Chris Cox spoke of the key to the win.
“Without a question, it was Jake,” Cox said. “Jake went out there and set the tone, commanded all three pitches and just pounded the strike zone. He set the tone, didn’t give them [The Rangers] anything.”
In terms of the turning point of the game, or climax. Cox said he understood capitalization of opportunity was the change.
“We needed to do a better job of hitting with runners in scoring position and less than two outs,” Cox said.
“We put ourselves in good position, had a couple key hits there later in the innings, but I feel like we can do a better job of that early.”
More than just the key at bats or Lipetzky’s performance, Cox honed in on the greatest contributing factors to the night’s success.
“Yes, patience late and getting deep into counts, worked the pitch count up,” Cox said. “Got their starter out of the game in the sixth inning, and went to work a little bit on their bullpen.”
The Bison improved to 9-2 on the season, up- ping their win streak to five and Great American Conference record to an impressive 4-0.
This triple-header against Northwestern concluded February 22nd (OBU winning, 10-14 in game one and 7-12 in game two), and the OBU Bison took on Central Oklahoma February 25th at home on Bobby Cox Field.