An extra inning meant trouble for the Lawrence Raiders as they fell 5-2 to the Ozark (Mo.) Merchants Thursday.
The Raiders surrendered three runs in the top of the eighth inning, two unearned. After a leadoff single by Ozark right fielder Mike Kickham, the Raiders committed three errors.
"It boils down to one inning," Raiders coach Shaun Edmondson said. "The kids aren't trying to make errors. They're not trying to strike out, but it's the little things that win games, and we didn't do enough of the little things right tonight."
Through five innings, Lawrence seemed in control. Starting pitcher Alex Hardman allowed only one hit and no runs through the fifth. The Raiders managed a run in the third and another in the fifth thanks to some patience at the plate.
"It's wood bats, and you're not going to have as much offense going on, usually, as you would with aluminum," first baseman Joe Kornbrust said. "Yeah, we were trying to get more walks than usual, play a little more small ball."
Kornbrust didn't register a hit on the night or even an at-bat.
In four plate appearances, Kornbrust walked three times and was hit by a pitch. He also scored the Raiders' only runs on singles by Clint Pinnick and Matthew Abel.
The Raiders had runners on base all night but were unable to capitalize most of the time.
They left a total of 11 runners on base.
"Baseball's a very unforgiving game," Edmondson said. "You make a mistake and it blows up in your face a lot of times. Like I said, we had multiple opportunities to win the game, to score big innings, to score a lot of runs. We just didn't do it."
After the fifth, things turned bad for the Raiders. Merchants center fielder Levi Presley hit a triple that one-hopped the wall in right to score Brett Neill. Neill later scored on a hit by Dan Kickham.
The Merchants rally in the sixth inning was the only trouble Hardman saw until the eighth. His efficiency in the early innings allowed him to go the distance.
"I didn't have to throw a lot of pitches, especially early," Hardman said. "I made good pitches, and with the wood bats, it's kind of hard to get solid wood on a ball if you make good pitches with it. That's normally what I do, just try to throw strikes and not try to overpower people, just make good pitches."
Matt Jordan took the win for Ozark after four innings of relief in which he surrendered one run on one hit.
The Raiders attempt to even their record in this year's Al Ice Memorial Wood Bat Classic at 7:30 tonight at Hoglund Ballpark against the Liberty, (Mo.) Select. The Select are 1-0 after beating the Arkansas City Black Diamonds, 4-3, in a rain-shortened, five-inning contest Thursday.