ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
Tabor split a doubleheader with Kansas Wesleyan Saturday, winning the opener 3-2 and dropping the second game 10-3.
“In the opener, again we found a way to win,” coach John Sparks said. “It was a pretty well played game all around with good defense.”
Tabor fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, but Bluejay starter Zavien Rivers settled in and pitched 52/3 innings.
Tabor took the lead with two runs in the fifth before Wesleyan tied the game 2-2 in the top of the seventh.
But Tabor continued its knack for winning close contests by rallying for the game-winning run in the home half of the seventh.
Leading the offense was Keenan Morris (3-for-4, double), Grant Brubacher (2-for-4, one run), Chance Miles (1-for-4, two RBI), and Brian Kimsey (1-for-3, double) as Tabor recorded eight hits in the game.
“Last year we lost nine games by one run, but this year we’ve won several one-run and close games,” Sparks said. “That’s been a huge difference.”
Layne Frick pitched the final 11/3 innings and picked up the victory.
In the second game, the Coyotes scored three in the first inning and four in the second to grab a 7-2 lead they’d never relinquish.
Brubacher went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and two RBI to pace the Bluejay offense, which recorded eight hits in the game.
Grant Huck was the starter and loser for Tabor.
“We didn’t get off to a good start,” Sparks said. “We hit the ball effectively, but we just couldn’t string them together.
“I think Wesleyan is one of the better hitting teams we’ll face this year,” Sparks added. “When they get going, they’re tough to stop.”
With the split, Tabor moved its record to 16-12 overall and a respectable 5-2 in KCAC play.
Saint Mary-Tabor College moved its conference record to 4-2 and overall record to 15-11 with a twinbill sweep of the Spires last Wednesday in Hillsboro.
Tabor won the opener in dramatic fashion by scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh to capture a 6-5 victory. The Bluejays concluded the day with a 5-3 win in Game 2.
Chance Miles drove in four runs for Tabor on two doubles and a game-tying two-run home run.
Tabor jumped on top with a run in the first and added another in the third on a double by Miles.
But Saint Mary got to Tabor starter Scott Wolf with two runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to grab a 4-2 lead.
The Spires added a fifth run in the seventh off reliever Gerald Goodale, setting up the exciting climax.
After Tabor scored a run to draw within two, Miles deposited an 0-2 pitch over the right field fence with two out and a runner on base to tie the game at 5-5.
Following a walk, Tony Steiner hit a blooper to center that the Spires’ centerfielder let slip past him as the winning run scurried around from first base for the 6-5 win.
Goodale recorded the victory as Tabor pounded out nine hits to offset committed four errors. Saint Mary had six hits and two errors.
Miles went 3-for-4 with four RBIs while Steiner was 1-for-3 with the game-winning RBI.
In Game 2, the Bluejays recovered from two one-run deficits before taking a 5-2 lead after four innings.
Saint Mary cut the lead to 5-3 in the fifth, but that’s how it ended.
Tyson Bauerle got the start and went the first two innings, but Goodale once again came on to put out the Spires’ fire.
Goodale eventually won the game with three innings of work and Layne Frick recorded his 11th save of the season to preserve the win.
Tabor recorded eight hits and committed one error while Saint Mary had six hits and two errors.
Offensively, Tabor was led by Jeremy Ball (2-for-3, double), Mike Fouquet (1-for-4, two RBI), Miles (1-for-2, double) and Keenan Morris (1-for-3, double).
“It wasn’t pretty, but we pitched a little better and played a little better defensively,” coach John Sparks said. “We were just able to push a few runs across and take advantage of some of their mistakes to win the game.”
Coming-Tabor will have battled Sterling on Monday and Bethany on Tuesday before heading to Sterling this Saturday.