The Barton Community College baseball team had a season opening victory within a strike, but three times the Vikings of Carl Albert State College escaped defeat with a dramatic 7-6 win Friday afternoon in Poteau, Oklahoma. The Cougars, who launched their own three-run rally in the seventh, had victory in grasp after getting the first two outs of the seventh but couldn't get the third strike on three additional batters before a pinch hit double drove home two runs for the win. The teams will meet again on Saturday in another seven inning affair at 12:30 p.m. following Barton's 10:00 am. Game versus Highland Community College.
Barton's top of the lineup duo Cole Henley and Michael Sinks had impressive debuts combining for 4-of-7 and three RBI including setting the table leading to the Cougars' two-run first inning. Henley led off to begin the inning, stole second base, and then scored on Sinks' first career RBI.
Sophomore Jackson Rose sent the Vikings down in order in the first but a leadoff walk and double preceded the Vikings' Wilfred Salaman's three run homerun to center reversing the score to a 3-2 home advantage through two innings.
A hit by pitch would open the Carl Albert third inning eventually scoring on a two-out single increasing the Vikings lead out to two.
An inning ending double play would end the Barton threat in the fourth but the Cougars would cut the deficit in half in the fifth getting a Sinks sacrifice fly scoring Alan Clark. The Vikings would get the run back in the home half as a leadoff error proved costly scoring on a one-out double.
Down to their last at-bat, Taylor Langston reached base on the Vikings' third error of the game and on a 2-2 count, Clark tied the game with the Wichita freshman's first collegiate home run. Just as they started the game, Henley connected for his second single of the day and Sinks delivered right behind him sending a double to centerfield giving Barton a 6-5 lead to the seventh.
Having pitched out of a sixth inning leadoff triple sending down the next three batters, Mason Hiser quickly sent down the first two batters in the seventh and had the next in a 0-2 hole. Four pitches later the Vikings had a base runner and four pitches later, the Cougars' fourth error of the game kept the inning alive. Again ahead of the count 1-2, Hiser couldn't get the final out as a 1-2 pitch was put into play loading the bases on the fielder's choice. Carl Albert went to its bench with Braden Varner and Varner was quickly in a 0-2 hole before sending a 1-2 pitch to fight field bringing home the tying and game winning runs.
Hiser would take the loss as the Augusta freshman worked the final 1.2 innings fiving up two hits while striking out two.