MIAMI — Stumbling out of the gate at the start of Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference games, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen lost three of four league games over the weekend at Homa Thomas Field to Arkansas Baptist College from Little Rock.
Weather permitting the Golden Norse are scheduled to play a four-game series with Rose State College starting Thursday in Miami. The 1 p.m. Thursday double-header will be followed by a 1 p.m. Saturday twinbill in Midwest City. The Rose State Raiders are 0-4 in the conference and 16-22 overall.
Caught in a 3-6 slide, the Norsemen are 2-6 in the OCAC and 30-9 on the season with 12 games left in the regular season.
After winning three of the first four games of the series, the Arkansas Baptist Buffaloes (4-4 and 19-20) concluded the four games in Saturday’s nightcap with a 14-8 victory.
The Buffaloes scored two runs off NEO starter Chase Burgess in the top of the first inning on a pair of singles, a walk and two fielder’s choices.
A single by Marcus Bracey and two straight fielder’s choices helped to construct a 3-0 margin in the top of the second inning.
Back-to-back homeruns by Riley Kelzor (7) and Bryson Lierle (6) ignited a four-run bottom of the second inning for the Norsemen. Another back-to-back doubles performance by Clay Richards and Calem Nutting forged a 3-3 tie. Nutting gave NEO the lead by scoring on a wild pitch.
Two hit batsmen — Larry Sims and Blake McLelland — contributed to a two-run third inning for Arkansas Baptist to create a brief 5-4 margin.
With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, consecutive singles by Kelzor and Lierle and a walk by Carter Nelson loaded the bases for the Golden Norsemen. Richards delivered a two-run single as NEO regained a 6-5 lead.
The Buffaloes received a double by Nick Kreutzer and an RBI single by Landen Colsen to tie the score through 3.1 innings.
NEO’s Jordan Blackmon was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the fourth inning. After stealing second base, Blackmon scored on an RBI single by Reed Fell for a 7-6 Norse lead.
Burgess (2-2) surrendered a solo homerun to Cutter McDonald (2) to begin the top of the sixth inning for a 7-7 deadlock.
Logan Pitts replaced Burgess on the mound to start the seventh inning for the Norse. Pitts surrendered four unearned runs on four hits before giving away to Hunter King. A double play and a pop up induced by King concluded the Buffaloes stampede for an 11-7 advantage.
Lierle (7) provided NEO’s final run in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-out solo homer.
Three singles along with errors by Nutting at third base and Hunter Southerland at catcher produced three runs for Arkansas Baptist in the top of the eighth inning.
A 4-for-4 performance at the plate by Lierle led NEO’s 13-hit offense. Fell, Kelzor and Richards added two hits each.
Colson collected four to the 20 hits generated by the Buffs against four NEO hurlers.
Arkansas Baptist started Saturday with a 7-2 victory in seven innings.
The Buffaloes broke open a tight 3-2 lead with four runs in the top of the seventh inning. Five singles and a walk fueled the outburst by Arkansas Baptist.
A two-run single by Lierle accounted for the two Golden Norse runs in the bottom of the sixth inning against Buffs pitcher Tyler McCray (3-4).
Kelzor had a double and a single out of five total Norsemen hits. Lierle, Southerland
and Hayden Hall contributed singles.
Kreutzer produced a homer (10) and two singles to pace the 11-hit Buffaloes offense. Larry Sims added two doubles along with one by Marcus Bracey off NEO hurler Oscar Gonzalez (3-3).
Trailing 9-8 in the bottom of the ninth inning in Friday’s second game with the Buffaloes, the Golden Norse scored two runs with two outs for a 10-9 come-from-behind win.
Fell ground out to second base to start the inning. After Southerland singled, Marcus Lucas pinch ran at first base. Lucas was forced out at second as Kelzor reached on a fielder’s choice.
Lierle singled before Troy Gagan pinch ran for Kelzor at second. After Hayden Hall walked to fill the bases, Blackmon singled scoring Gagan for a 9-9 tie.
With the bases loaded, pinch hitter Matthew Gaskins walked scoring Lierle with the winning run.
NEO tallied two runs in the bottom of the first inning, one run in both the second and third innings to build a 4-0 lead. A two-run single by Lierle along with a solo homer in the third contributed to the Norse offense.
A two-run double by Bracey and an RBI single by Jack Aydelotte rallied Arkansas Baptist to a 4-3 deficit in the top of the fourth inning off NEO starter Bradley Kinsey.
Following a two-run bottom of the fourth inning gave the Norsemen a 6-3 margin, the Buffaloes tallied two runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and two more in the seventh for an 8-6 advantage.
Fell bunted safely to start the bottom of the seventh inning for NEO. After stealing second, Southerland was walked. Fell advances to third base before Kelzor hit into a double play as Fell scored for an 8-7 deficit.
Both teams scored single runs in the eighth inning setting up a rally for NEO in their final at-bats.
Matthew Patton (4-1) allowed one hit in 1.1 innings of relief to pick up the victory. King replaced Kinsey for 1.2 innings before Tanner Rutledge replaced King for 1.2 innings of work.
Lierle and Blackmon each had three of 11 NEO total hits. Fell added two hits.
With two doubles and a single, McDonald led the 13-hit barrage by the Buffaloes.
After six scoreless innings of Friday’s first game, Arkansas Baptist reached NEO starter Matthew Gaskins (5-1) for an unearned run in the top of the seventh inning to earn a 1-0 shutout.
Ashton Holyfield (5-1) scattered five hits in seven innings of work for the Buffaloes. He struck out six and walked three.
Tomas Gonzales singled to start the ABC rally in the top of the seventh inning. After Kreutzer popped out to shortstop, Colson walked. Sims hit a sacrifice fly to center as Gonzales advanced to third base.
On the throw back to the infield by centerfielder Burgess, Gonzales was sent home after the ball went out of bounds.
NEO’s Hall popped out to left field to start the bottom of the seventh. Gagan reached base on an error by Gonzales at third base. After Burgess struck out, Joe Fernando grounded into a fielder’s choice as Gagan was tagged out at second base to end the game.
Fernando had two of NEO’s five hits along with singles by Kelzor, Lierle and Gagan.