Oklahoma Baptist slugger Josh Collazo hit two two-run homers and had a three-run double and it almost wasn't enough as the Bison rallied to a 14-13 win over Southern Nazarene Saturday.
Collazo, a junior from Tampa, Fla., was three for four with two walks and Billy Thomas, a junior from Georgetown, Calif., was five-for-five with three runs scored, but it took a ninth-inning RBI single by Frank Avilla to end the slugfest.
"Collazo was just locked in," said OBU coach Bobby Cox. "He was a one-man wrecking crew today."
The Bison and Crimson Storm combined for 34 hits and the respective closers combined for seven runs allowed.
OBU took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Thomas doubled and scored on Collazo's 15th home run of the season.
SNU bounced back for three in the second on an RBI double by Garison Hensley and an RBI double by Jarod Elmore with a third run coming in on an error. The Storm went up 6-2 in the third with a two-run single by Hensley and an RBI single by Elmore.
The Bison got one of those back in the third when Josh Kirkpatrick scored on Mason Reilly's ground ball to second.
SNU led 7-3 when Stevie Lewis homered to start the fourth, but the Bison answered in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single by Thomas to make it 7-4.
The SNU lead moved to 8-4 in the top of the sixth with an RBI ground out by Lewis.
The Bison stampeded for four in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game, getting Collazo's three-run double and an RBI single by Reilly.
SNU stemmed the momentum in the top of the seventh with an RBI ground out by Hensley and a run-scoring error.
OBU came up with five in the bottom of the eighth, starting with a two-run home run by Collazo off of SNU closer Nick Patterson, tying the game at 10-10. With two outs and nobody on, Chris Chambers singled and Avilla, Cody Lambeth and Keith Johnson all worked walks off Patterson for an 11-10 lead.
Josh Kirkpatrick then greeted reliever Chad Feathers with a two-run single to give the Bison a 13-10 lead.
But the Storm didn't pack things in.
Cody White produced a ground-out RBI for the second out of the game and after an error prolonged the game, Alex Rehnstrom produced with a two-run single off Jordan McCavitt to tie the game.
Kyle Cooper led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and moved to second when Collazo drew a walk. Reilly moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt and the Storm opted to intentionally walk Chambers after failing to get him to offer at two outside pitches.
"We keep putting ourselves behind the eight-ball, whether it's pitching or defense," said Cox. "It seems like we are constantly in a situation where we have to come back. We did it today against some good pitchers. It's not like we scored those runs against bad pitching."
That set the stage for Avilla, who has had great success in the situation. In his 18 times at the plate with a runner at third and less than two out, Avilla had gotten an RBI. He singled sharply to left-center to make it a 95 percent success rate in that situation this season.
"Frank had struggled all game, but he stepped up huge at the end," Cox said.
The hit made a winner out of McCavitt (6-1) who allowed one earned run in three innings.
Joining Thomas and Collazo with multiple hits were Cooper and Kirkpatrick with two each.
Now 31-8 overall and 15-7 in the SAC, the Bison play at Southern Nazarene Saturday in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.