GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Buoyed by a strong contingent of Tigers fans, the Cowley College baseball team bounced back from an opening-round loss to defeat two-time defending champion Chipola (Fla.) College 20-12 in a wild game Sunday at the Alpine Bank Juco World Series.
The Tigers (46-13) remained alive to play Monday afternoon against Monroe (N.Y.).
Cowley scored five runs in the second and fourth innings to break a 1-1 tie and lead 11-1.
Looking as if they may run-rule the Indians (38-20), instead the Chipola clawed back to tie the game 12-12 with the aid of a seven-run sixth.
The Tigers immediately regained the lead with four runs in the top of the seventh.
“Our guys had an answer and I am proud of what they did because it looked dark after it got to 12-12,” Cowley coach Dave Burroughs said. “That shows the true character of this team.”
The win was the 1,300th in the career of Burroughs as head coach of the Tigers.
Andrew Roach, who was in line to start Monday’s game, came on in relief in the sixth inning and pitched the final 3 2/3 innings to earn the win. Roach (9-3) allowed only two hits and no runs, while striking out three.
“He was big for us. He came in and threw some zeroes up when we were having a hard time,” Burroughs said.
Larsen pitched into the fifth and was lifted after surrendering a leadoff double to Jordan Anderson.
A three-run homer by Daniel Cerda in the sixth and a double by Anderson chased Wilson with nobody out in the bottom of the sixth.
Ryan Westerhoff came in and threw a pair of wild pitches that allowed Anderson to score, and a single by Cameron Gray plated another run to make it 12-10. Westerhoff then walked Corey Rosier to load the bases with only one out.
Roach relieved Westerhoff and got Alex Aruaz to hit a grounder, but the ball took a bad hop off of shortstop Logan Steenstra’s glove to score two runs and tie the game 12-12.
Chipola reliever Michael Cullen (5-1) walked Grady Davenport leading off the seventh and allowed a one-out single to Cade Stephens to put runners at first and third. George Specht then followed with a go-ahead run-scoring single, and Steenstra drove in Stephens with a two-out double for a 14-12 lead. Another single by Tyler Halstead plated Specht and Steenstra.
Steenstra, who went 3 for 5 with five RBI, added a two-run homer in the top of the eighth.
“After a tough loss yesterday, we answered back today and put up a pretty good fight,” Steenstra said.
Grady Davenport went 3 for 4 with two walks and three RBI, and capped the scoring with a two-run double in the ninth.
Cody Milligan had two more hits and stole three bases. Milligan is now 30 for 30 on stolen-base attempts.
Every batter in the lineup had at least one hit.
Stephens had three hits and drove in three, while Davenport reached base five times thanks to a pair of singles and three walks.
“It was a team effort,” Burroughs said. “We will enjoy this, put it behind us and be ready to play again tomorrow.”
Tigers drop opener
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The Tigers could not overcome the wildness of the pitching staff Saturday morning in a 16-12 loss to Walters State (Tenn.) College.
Cowley pitchers combined to walk 12 batters and hit two more.
“We did not play the way we are used to playing,” Burroughs said. “You move on, put it behind you and see what happens tomorrow.”
Walters State (53-9) advanced to play Monday night against Navarro.
Brannon Jordan, the owner of a 1.43 ERA, started on the mound for the Tigers and walked four batters in a row to force in a run in the top of the second, then allowed a bases clearing double by No. 9 hitter Xavier Annette.
A three-base error on a bunt attempt chased Jordan in favor of Miguel Obeso.
Sophomore catcher Cody Milligan hit a three-run double to pull the Tigers to within 6-3.
Three straight hits and an error were cashed in by Cowley, and George Specht’s sacrifice fly scored Carson Sader with the tying run.
The bottom of Walters State’s order continued to do damage, including a three-run double by Jerry Hammons that gave the Senators a 10-8 lead.
Braydon Combs hit a two-run homer off reliever Kaid Karnes to cap a six-run inning and put the Senators in front 12-8.
Bryce Hodge homered in the seventh to make the score 15-9.
Milligan greeted reliever Blake Petty with a two-run triple to pull Cowley to within 15-11. Milligan, who had two hits and drove in six, scored on an RBI groundout by pinch-hitter Blaze Brothers to make it 15-12.
Freshman Hunter O’Toole came on in relief and helped to limit the damage in the eighth, then pitched a scoreless ninth to keep the Tigers within striking distance.
Cowley loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the ninth, but Gage Gillian got Grady Davenport to ground out to end the game.
“Our guys competed to the last out,” Burroughs said. “We have got to have a short memory and move forward.”
Cowley 20, Chipola 12
Walters 16, Cowley 12