With a sixth-straight Great American Conference series on the line, the Southwestern Oklahoma State University baseball team rose to the challenge and defeated Harding 5-1 on Sunday at Jerry Moore Field in Searcy, Ark.
The win improves the Bulldogs to 22-12 on the year and 14-7 in the Great American Conference, leaving them tied with Henderson State for second place in the conference.
SWOSU started the scoring early, taking advantage of a Harding error in the top of the first inning. Brandon Ruiz reached base by way of the Bisons error before stealing base and scoring on an RBI single from Cooper Chambers.
It took Shane Martin an inning to settle in on the mound after the Bulldogs' starter yielded three hits and one run in the first inning, allowing Harding to tie the game at 1-1. Martin found his groove from that point forward and allowed just three hits and no Bison base runners past second base the remainder of the game.
The Bulldogs broke the tie in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Kevin Cantrell scored Adam Iago, who had pinch ran for Chambers, from third base.
SWOSU then proceeded to break the game open in the eighth inning when they added three runs on four hits while also taking advantage of two more Harding errors. The Bulldogs got RBI hits in the inning from Tyler Rapp, Bryce Stout and Kevin Cantrell to take the 5-1 lead.
From there, Martin had the game in control as he picked up his eighth win (8-1) of the year while tossing his fourth complete game. He allowed six hits and just one earned run while striking out five Harding batters and walking one.
This week, the Bulldogs will travel to Chickasha on Tuesday to face Oklahoma Science and Arts before hosting East Central next weekend for the final home series of the 2013 season.