Senior catcher and outfielder Mikey Quinones begins another successful season as a starter for this OBU Tiger baseball squad. (photo by Baseline Photography)

Tigers hope for third straight NCAA regional berth

February 21, 2024

By Isaac Bourne, Sports Editor

The Ouachita baseball team begins yet another season following their second-straight NCAA Regional Tournament appearance under head coach Luke Howard.  With the return of a significant amount of last season’s roster, fans are hoping for yet another trip to Warrensburg, Mo. in May.  Coach Howard, on the other hand, is determined to keep his team grounded in the moment.

“[1-0] goes up in the dugout every day,” Howard explained. “1-0 is our whole motto. That’s [at] practice. That’s no matter what we’re doing.”

Following a road trip to Joplin, Mo., the Tigers begin conference play on the road at Northwestern Oklahoma State, who themselves have gotten off to a quick 7-1 start.

“It’s a great challenge for our program to go on the road [and] see what we’re made of here early [in the season],” Howard said. “We don’t act like we have anything figured out yet, and I believe no matter how good you are, if you keep that mindset and stay humble, you’re going to be alright.”

Starting out 3-3 this season, the Tigers beat Northeastern State twice in Hot Springs before picking up a win against No. 23 in the nation Missouri Southern to start their season. Despite an 0-3 effort in Joplin against the Lions on the road, they still go into conference play with three premiere wins under their belt.

The biggest returners at the plate this season are highlighted by the senior trio of outfielder G Allen, catcher Michael Quinones and right-handed pitcher Dustin Bermudez, the three combining for 35 home runs and 218 hits last season.

“It could be 12 to 13 guys rotating with the core group of Mike, DB and G,” Howard said. “Those guys are kind of solidified in there just from the years that they’ve had in the past, but other than that, it’s kind of just mixing and matching.”

Outside of the main three, sophomore infielder Cole Bedwell, junior outfielder Isaac Nowell, senior outfielder Tallon Heine, senior catcher Cade Burris and freshman infielder Wesley Scott have played significant time in the lineup so far this season.

On the mound, senior Cooper Timmons and junior Luke House are back from last season while junior Chase Oberle, a community college transfer, has put up an impressive season so far while leading the team in innings pitched.

With many returners on this promising Tiger squad, their No. 7 ranking in the Central region to start the season is only expected to rise behind the leadership of their veteran players. Their home opener will be a Feb. 23 doubleheader against the Southwestern Oklahoma State Bulldogs at Rab Rodgers Field, and Tiger fans are eager to see the team in action in Arkadelphia again for another season.

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