ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Tabor College baseball team swept a pair of games against Minot State last Tuesday, 11-10 and 9-2, at Tabor Field.
“They were actually a pretty good team,” coach John Sparks said. “They were young but they had a good coaching staff.”
Cooper Garbe got the start in the opener but Minot State jumped to a 5-3 lead after three innings.
Sparks replaced Garbe in the fourth with Josh LeTourneau, who gave up a leadoff single but followed it with a double play ball to shortstop to give the Bluejays a huge lift.
Tabor then hit the Beavers with seven runs in the top of the fourth inning, highlighted by a three-run home run by Nick Green to put Tabor on top 10-5.
“That double play was a big play in this game,” Sparks said. “It gave us a boost and seemed to really transfer into that next inning on offense.”
But Minot State battled back with one run in the fifth and four in the sixth to tie the game before Tabor ended it in the seventh.
Jeremy Sneed picked up the win for Tabor as the Bluejays pounded Beaver pitchers for 13 hits, including a 2-for-3 performance from Chance Miles, who also scored two runs. Casey Cooper also went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Josh Craig went 2-for-4 and scored twice.
“We didn’t play too badly defensively, but I felt like we could have hit the ball better and pitched better,” Sparks said. “But we were able to battle it out and get the win.”
In Game 2, Tyler McKim threw a complete seven-inning game, allowing just five hits.
“Tyler pitched really well,” Sparks said. “He was in control of his pitches and got good defense behind him.”
Tabor jumped on top with three runs in both the first and second innings on a pair of Kevin Peterson home runs. The Bluejays added two in the fourth inning and one in the fifth before the Beavers averted the shutout with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh.
Craig reached base in all four plate appearances and had a double. Green belted his second home run of the day-this one a 2-run shot- and Peterson hit a pair of round trippers.
“We continued to hit the ball fairly well, but sometimes we get a little inconsistent from inning to inning in our approach at the plate,” Sparks said.
In addition to solid offense, Tabor played 14 consecutive innings without committing an error, a statistic that pleased Sparks.
“Our defense seems to be coming around,” he said. “We had two errorless games in a row. I think that’s the first time we’ve done that all year.”
With the sweep, Tabor improved its record to 11-11 overall with a 1-1 mark in KCAC play.
“Overall, I was pretty pleased with our play,” Sparks said. “Now we have to get ready because we’re heading into the crux of our season when we begin conference play.”
Coming-Tabor was scheduled to get back into conference play Tuesday, March 21, at home against Bethany College. The Bluejays are scheduled to travel Saturday to Ottawa University.