The Rolla baseball team (9-8, 4-2 OC) hosted Springfield Central for an Ozark Conference matchup on Tuesday, April 23. The Bulldogs got out to an early lead and never looked back in an 11-0 mercy rule win.
Rolla got out to a near perfect start on Tuesday night. Collin Woods only needed eight pitches to get through the opening frame, but Central didn't have the same luck. Central needed to pitchers to get through the inning, throwing a combined 40 more pitches than Wood. That was due to a combination of timely hitting from Rolla and poor fielding from Central. Rolla batted around in the inning on the back of five base hits. Rolla also had one walk and had three players reach on errors. Three Bulldogs scored on wild pitches in the innings, while Woods, Colby Shivers and Brady Yarger all added RBI singles. Rolla scored eight runs in the opening inning and didn't need to do much more after that.
The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the third and one more in the fourth to extend their lead out to 11-0, before the game was ended by mercy rule after the top of the fifth.
"Central competes in most of their games and for us to put a big number on the board and give a big cushion, we didn't just crush the ball. We had some bloopers, they made some errors, but we capitalized. We took advantage of everything they gave us," said head coach Kenny Hohe after the game. "Sometimes you're not going to go out and get 25 base hits, but when they make mistakes you have to make them pay for it and we did that tonight."
As a team, Rolla had 12 hits and walked three times in the win. Woods led the Bulldogs offensively with three hits, driving in a pair and scoring once. Parker Yoakum and Drew Johnson each added a pair of hits and drove in a run. Every Bulldog reached base at least once and all but one reached on a base hit.
"That's what's going to separate us down the road is whether its our leadoff guy, our four guy or our eight guy at the bottom of the lineup, the ability to start an inning or drive runs in," said coach Hohe on the offense coming together from top to bottom. "I feel like we've got a little bit of depth and I think that showed today."
Woods also gave Rolla a strong performance on the mound. He allowed just one hit in five innings of work, a double in the second, and walked four batters. He struck out six in the victory.
"To go five innings and throw a shutout, I don't care who you're facing, if you throw five innings and shut a team out you're doing a good job," said the Rolla head coach. "They weren't all easy innings. The second inning, after all that time off the mound, he came out and let up a double and a walk to start the inning. To not give up a run just shows how he was able to bear down and make sure they didn't have any life and he did that very well."
Coach Hohe hopes that the win can give the Bulldogs a nice confidence boost as they finish out the regular season. The Bulldogs will host Glendale for Senior Night on Thursday, weather permitting. After that, Rolla has six games left on their regular season slate. Hopefully a big game at the plate and on the mound gives them a boost to finish off the regular season.
"Any win is a good win, I don't care who you're playing," said coach Hohe. "Central's record may not be great and they may struggle at times, but they compete. We were able to come out and take control of that game, which is important because we still have three big conference games left and we're going to go after them with everything we've got."