RSU Baseball Makes Big Statement in 2019 – Presented by Rogers State University


On May 11, 2019, the Rogers State Baseball team reached new heights for the program, claiming the school’s first Heartland Conference Championship and securing the team’s first NCAA National Championship bid since the program became full members of the NCAA in 2017.

Having narrowly missing the four-team Heartland Conference Tournament field in 2017 and 2018, the Hillcats were picked sixth in the league to start the season. Rogers State grabbed the Heartland’s attention with three conference three-game series sweeps en route to a No. 2 seed in the conference tournament.

The perfect blend of players from Oklahoma and California, with a few Canadians and a Marylander returned the Hillcats to the postseason in their final year with the Heartland Conference. After earning the postseason bid, Grant Farris and Chelsea, Oklahoma’s Corey Murphy were named to the All-Heartland First Team. Ketchum, Oklahoma’s Brock Knoten led the conference in saves and was named to the All-Heartland Second Team, along with Jackson Simonsgaard, Christian Merriwether and Brandon Bradshaw.

Rogers State, led by the conference Coach of the Year in Chris Klimas, didn’t stop at the conference awards and conference tournament berth, continuing to take new strides in the second week of May. 

After a 4-0 win in the tournament opener against Arkansas-Fort Smith, Rogers State was dealt the task of facing the 6-time defending Heartland Conference Champions of St. Edward’s, who had only lost one conference tournament game during their six-year, title-winning stretch. The Hillcats battled from behind and forced extra innings before eventually punching their ticket to the championship game with a 6-5 win in 11 innings.

The Hillcats weren’t done with St. Edward’s however, as SEU won the elimination bracket meaning Rogers State would have to dispatch the defending champions twice in two days. Similar to the first game, Rogers State battled from behind to win 4-3 as the Hillcats went 3-0 in Cleburne, Texas to claim the 2019 Heartland Conference Championship.

Knoten, who tied the school’s record for appearances in the championship game, also set the school’s single-season saves record to close the game out, picking up save 13 on the season. Farris was named the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, while Knoten and four other Hillcats were named to the All-Tournament team.

The title is the program’s first conference baseball championship since 2011 when the Hillcats were a part of the Sooner Athletic Conference in the NAIA. It also marked the return to national tournament baseball for a program that quickly developed a strong postseason pedigree in the NAIA, going 12-4 in the national tournament in 2012 and 2013 before Rogers State made the move to the NCAA the following season.

Following the conference championship Rogers State made its NCAA Tournament debut on May 16. A complete recap of the Hillcats’ postseason run can be found at, along with information for all of Rogers State’s athletic programs.