Neosho native Alex Wise popped a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Crowder closer Andrew Schwaab managed to regroup and shut the door on the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Norsemen on Tuesday, 5-4.
The win marked the third one this week for the Roughriders (3-0) after a sweep of North Central (Mo.) on Monday at Roughrider field.
On Tuesday, the Roughriders (19-3) pounded out 14 hits, but stranded 12 men on base in the game.
“We left a lot of runners on base today,” Crowder coach Travis Lallemand said. “Credit NEO though, they’ve got some really good arms and guys made big pitches when they needed to. We kind of kept plugging at it and put up a big run in the sixth inning.”
A big run it was, as evidenced by Wise’s blast over the centerfield wall on a 1-2 count to trim NEO’s deficit to 5-4. But Schwaab would allow no more as he picked up the save.
Tony Sandifer led the team at the plate as he racked up four hits while adding an RBI and a run scored. Cody Althouse, Matt Burgess, Ty White and Ryan Lazo each had two hits for the Roughriders, while White and Althouse drove in two runs. Burgess, Sandifer and White all doubled.
Marcus Cross started on the hill for the Roughriders and picked up the victory after allowing two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks in three innings of work. Trey Watson and Chris Caudle worked the middle innings in relief and didn’t allow a run.
Hector Candelaria had three hits for the Norsemen, while Wise had two hits, two RBI and two runs scored. Ramon Laureano also had two hits and drove in two runs.
On Monday, the Roughriders began the day by run-ruling North Central 11-1 in six innings, before squeezing out a close 2-1 victory in the nightcap.
In game one, the Roughriders blew things open with a seven-run second inning to take an 8-1 lead. They would later add two more in the fourth and one in the sixth to close it. Chris Scroggins had a perfect game at the plate as he went 5 for 5 with two doubles, two RBI and three runs scored. Sandifer had three hits, drove in two and scored a run, while White had two hits and three RBI. Althouse and Burgess both had a hit and two RBI apiece, while C.J. Webster and Lucas Feddersen had hits.
Preston Tarkington started on the mound and cruised through six innings as he held North Central to four hits and one run while striking out eight and walking one.
The Roughriders had a battle on their hands in game two, however. North Central starter Derek Mann was especially tough as he held the Roughriders to two runs on four hits through 6 1/3 innings. But those two runs were all Crowder would need as starting pitcher Jon Woodcock had a career day on the mound as he struck out 16 and walked one while allowing a run on four hits in six innings.
Page 2 of 2 - Despite the dazzling performance, Woodcock was saddled with a no decision, with the win going to reliever Cody Jackson, who worked a scoreless seventh and eighth inning with three strikeouts. Schwaab struck out the side in the ninth — giving Crowder pitchers 22 strikeouts for the game — to earn the save.
Neosho native Silas Bohannan tagged Woodcock for the only North Central run with a solo homer in the seventh inning.
Althouse and Webster both had two hits for the Roughriders, while Scroggins, Feddersen and Lazo also had hits.
“We’re putting together another little streak here and we’re doing it in a lot of different ways,” Lallemand said. “We’re having a run-rule game here and there, and then adding a couple of one-run games. We just continue to get games in that are very good tournament-like opportunities.
“Of course, if you’re losing them it’s not really preparing you for the tournament, it’s just showing you what not to do. We’ve been doing things to win tight games and we’ve been very even keel with it, too.”
The Roughriders are back in action this weekend with games at St. Louis Community College in St. Louis, Mo., at 1 p.m. Friday and again at noon on Saturday.