Kale Gaden crushed a two-run home run over the right-field wall to give Oklahoma City University a 2-1 win over MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) on Friday at Jim Wade Stadium.
Gaden, a senior from Stillwater, Okla., nailed his second homer in as many games with two out in the bottom of the eighth to erase a 1-0 MidAmerica Nazarene lead. The Stars, ranked fourth in NAIA baseball, moved to 9-2.
Josh Dickey socked a base hit to right field before Gaden's blast. Andrew Dennis, pinch running for Dickey, scored on Gaden's homer. OCU stranded 10 runners prior to that. The Stars left the bases full in the seventh.
OCU starting pitcher Derek Howell turned in his third consecutive quality start, allowing one run on four hits while notching eight strikeouts in seven innings. Howell, a senior right-handed pitcher from Krum, Texas, allowed his first earned run as a Star in the second.
Howell allowed Brad Law on with a hit by pitch, but retired two in a row in the second. Kyle Brown plated Law with a triple to the left-center field wall.
MidAmerica Nazarene pitcher Kyle Olson kept the Stars off balance and made Brown's RBI stand through six innings. Olson struck out five, walked five and allowed three hits before giving away to Caleb Swartz.
Swartz walked the first two batters he faced, then fanned two in the seventh. Jonathan Rodriguez drew a walk to load the bases, but Swartz struck out Chase Jensen. Swartz worked two innings and allowed three walks and two hits in getting saddled with his first loss of the year.
Davis Henderson picked up the victory for the Stars. Henderson, a senior right-hander from Spring, Texas, struck out four in two perfect innings to improve to 3-0. Henderson struck out the side in the ninth to put away MidAmerica Nazarene. Henderson caught Josh Greer looking at strike three with a curveball for the second out in the ninth.
Forrest Smith, a junior from Bakersfield, Calif., went 2-for-3 for OCU.