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JENKS - Kelvin Rivas struck out 12 batters and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning in pitching the Connors Cowboys to a 5-3 victory over Rose State in the NJCAA Region II baseball tournament Friday night at Hinch Field in Jenks.
Rivas scattered six hits in posting his eighth win of the season against two losses. He walked four in his eight innings on the mound. Justin Ferrell pitched the ninth inning to preserve the victory.
The Cowboys pounded out nine base hits with Yariel Gonzalez and Victor Claudio leading the offensive attack with two hits each. Rose State closes the year at 28-25.
The Cowboys (47-9) will meet Northeastern A&M at noon today in a winner’s bracket game. The Norsemen (32-15) advanced by defeating Eastern Oklahoma State 11-0. The Cowboys and NEO split the four-game series during the regular season.
Seminole State (37-17) ousted Arkansas Baptist (27-31) earlier in the day 15-4 and will play Eastern State at 3:30 p.m. in an elimination game.
Rivas got off to a shaky start in the first inning as the Raiders struck for two base hits and a 2-0 lead. Derek Jones and Joe Black reached on back-to-back base singles and scored on a double by Garrett Crain.
Claudio connected on his first home run of the season with a blast over the left-centerfield fence in the second inning to make it a 2-1 game.
Connors used one base hit in the third inning to take a 3-2 lead. Korey Keith’s single into right center plated Dalton Daniels, who had reached first when he was hit on pitch by Dillon Endecott. Christian Perez reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on Yariel Gonzalez’ fielder’s choice.
Cowboys increased its lead to 5-2 in the fifth inning when Gonzalez’ base hit to centerfield was misplayed by the centerfielder that allowed Daniels and Keith to score. Daniels had reached on a fielder’s choice and Keith walked.
Rose State’s Ryan Bottger connected for a home run against Rivas in the top of the sixth to make it a 5-3 game.