ENID – Redemption is sweet for the Bison baseball team. A year removed from falling in the Great American Conference Tournament final, fifth-seeded OBU dominated No. 6 Harding, 12-3, to claim its first league title since making the move to NCAA Division II.
With the victory also comes an automatic bid to an NCAA Regional, making it back-to-back appearances for Coach Bobby Cox's squad.
Against the Bisons, OBU followed a familiar script from its previous tournament wins, riding a strong outing from All-GAC First Teamer Jake Lipetzky until the bats got hot.
After inclement weather ended his start after three innings on Sunday against Arkansas Tech, a well-rested Lipetzky produced another quality outing in the championship game, striking out five and giving up just two runs on six hits through 7.1 frames.
The game was scoreless through 2.1 innings before the heart of the OBU order did what it has done consistently during the Bison's late season surge. Jake Gozzo drove in the game's first run with a double down the left field line, followed immediately by a two-run double from Ramon Enriquez to make at 3-0.
The teams traded runs in the fifth before OBU broke the game open for good with a three-run Enriquez blast to make it 7-1 in the home half of the sixth.
The Bison added four additional runs in the bottom half of the seventh off of Harding reliever Nick Bowers as Joey Pledger, PJ Harris and Gozzo all recorded RBIs.
The sixth-seeded Bisons plated two in the eighth after Jesus Chavez took over for Lipetzky, but an additional OBU run in the bottom of the inning proved to be the final margin. Chavez put the HU lineup down in order in the top of the ninth to seal the victory and championship for the Bison.
For the week, OBU defeated the conference's No. 2, No. 3, No. 1 and No. 6 seeds, outscoring its opponents 39-15. The Bison will take a 13-game winning streak into the NCAA Tournament. Regional participants and locations will be officially announced exclusively on NCAA.com at 9 p.m. (CT) on Sunday, May 10.