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Bison Baseball Off To Record Start In 2015

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SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -

Top-ranked Oklahoma Baptist defeated Bethany (Kan.) 12-1 Monday afternoon to improve to 23-0 on the season, setting new baseball program records for the longest winning streak and the best start to a season.

The Bison eclipsed the streak established last season, when OBU compiled two separate 22-game winning streaks, including one to start the season, on the way to a program record 55-win season.

OBU jumped on top early against the Swedes (9-14) when Joey Szczepanski singled home Jeff Ricker in the first inning.

Landon Coon tripled to start off the second inning, and came around to score on a throwing error to put the Bison up 2-0.

Coon hit his second triple of the day in the third inning, bringing Szczepanski and Colt Bickerstaff around to score. Tyler Melton later doubled home Coon and Felipe Gonzalez to cap off the four-run inning.

Two more Bison runs crossed the plate in the fourth as Szczepanski was credited with a sacrifice fly, and Bickerstaff hit an RBI double to put the Bison up 8-0.

After being held scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings, Coon hit a solo home run in the seventh, his third of the year, to put the Bison on top 9-1. Coon finished three-for-five with two triples, a home run, three RBI and three runs scored in the win.

Keach Ballard and Yariel Gonzalez started off the eighth inning with back-to-back solo home runs, and Shakeel Newton hit a sacrifice fly later in the inning for the final run of the game.

Bethany scored their only run of the game in the sixth inning, and used seven pitchers in the loss. Bison hitters tagged the staff for 15 total hits and 12 earned runs.

Yariel was three-for-five with two runs scored and one RBI, and Melton finished three-for-four with two RBI for the Bison.

Right-handed pitcher Taylor Hearn picked up the win after pitching five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits while striking out four. Hearn is now 5-0 and lowered his ERA to 1.44 for the season.

Brad Adams pitched two innings in relief, allowing three hits and one run while striking out two batters. Tallen Parker pitched a one-hit eighth inning, striking out two, and Jeff Gunter preserved the lead in the ninth with a two-hit, one-strike out performance.

The Bison pitching staff saw their streak of 20 consecutive scoreless innings come to an end with the Swedes' run in the sixth, matching the longest scoreless streak of the season.

OBU will play seven games over the next five days, starting with a home doubleheader against Bacone on Tuesday, March 17, beginning at 2 p.m.

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