The Tabor College baseball team knocked off the No. 1 seeded team in the NAIA opening round tournament, but fell just short of moving on to the Avista-NAIA College World Series with a 7-3 loss to No. 3 Rogers State University Saturday night.
The Bluejays opened the tournament Thursday with a 7-3 win over Dakota State University, but lost to No. 1 seed Oklahoma Baptist, 10-6, in the semifinals to drop onto the loser’s bracket.
Tabor rallied to defeat Judson College 8-5 Friday and Oklahoma Baptist 8-7 Saturday afternoon to earn a shot at a ticket to the NAIA series.
But it was not to be.
Tabor ended its season with a 44-15 record.
The senior-heavy squad will lose 14 players to graduation, including starters Adam McCormick, Colby Tessendorf, Matt Cardona, Matt Weger, David Ormiston and Nicholas Reif.
The seniors are McCormick, Tessendorf, Cardona, Weger, Ormiston, Reif, Wes Moody, Derek McBride, Andrew Perez, Darius Iacono, Cody Wheeler, Bret Lentz, William Wood and Nate Percy.
The Bluejays have won 89 games in the past two years, compared to 77 games in the combined four years prior.
“This senior class has been more successful than any before them,” said coach Mark Standiford.
“Adam McCormick, Matt Weger, Andrew Perez, Colby Tessendorf and David Ormiston all played huge roles in our success the past two years.
“This class has set the standard for all to follow, and it will be extremely hard to replace all of them.”
Championship, Rogers State—After going head to head with Rogers State through the first four innings at 2-2, Tabor allowed a couple runs in the fifth and three more in the bottom of the eighth to surrender the tournament championship, 7-3.
Adam McCormick and Matt Cardona batted in two runs to lead Tabor at the plate.
Alex Cole, who pitched 51?3 innings, absorbed the loss, allowing four runs and striking out just one.
Loser’s bracket, Oklahoma Baptist—Tabor found sweet revenge Saturday afternoon against a team that had beaten them earlier in the tournament.
Unfazed by a four-run spurt by Oklahoma Baptist to start the game, the Bluejays broke free for a four-run inning in the seventh to edge the Bison, 8-7.
Matt Weger led the Bluejays offensively, driving in three runs. Koby Temple chipped in two RBIs as well.
Anthony Mendoza, who pitched 61?3 innings for Tabor, allowed seven runs while striking out four. Matt Lambert pitched the last 22?3 innings to earn the save. He struck out one and allowed just two hits and no runs.
Loser’s bracket, Judson—Tabor knocked off No. 2 seed Judson University in the first game of the loser’s bracket Friday, 8-5.
Judson took an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third. But Tabor rallied for a four-run fifth inning to go on top for the first time, 4-3. Singles by Colby Tessendorf and Tyler Kozlowski, and a walk sent Art Corona home for the lead.
Kozlowski had a game-high two RBIs, with Paul Sciacca, Adam McCormick and Tessendorf each adding one.
Brian Kowal pitched seven innings for the win, allowing three runs on 12 hits while striking out four. Matt Lambert earned a save, blanking Judson for the last two innings and striking out three.
Semifinals, Oklahoma Baptist—Tabor let the proverbial cat out of the bag for four Bison runs in the second inning and three in the seventh, propelling the No. 1-seeded Oklahoma Baptist to a 10-6 victory in the semifinals Thursday evening.
Sharing honors at the plate were Art Corona, Koby Temple and Colby Tessendorf, who each batted in a run.
David Ormiston pitched six innings in the loss, allowing 10 runs while striking out two.
Opener, Dakota State—Tabor took care of business in Game 1 with a 9-7 victory over Dakota State Thursday morning.
Tabor’s six-run first inning— and improved fielding—gave the Jays the edge despite a five-run scoring burst in the seventh inning from Dakota State.
Adam McCormick, Matt Weger and Colby Tessendorf each drove in two runs for Tabor.
Nicholas Reif pitched six innings for the win. Brian Kowal, who came in to pitch a scoreless final inning, earned a save.