Tabor baseball claims KCAC tournament title with 12-7 win over Kansas Wesleyan

The Tabor College baseball team won the KCAC tournament championship for the second consecutive year with a 12-7 win over Kansas Wesleyan Saturday.The Tabor College baseball team survived an eighth-inning Coyote rally to win the KCAC tournament over Kansas Wesleyan, 12-7, Saturday.

Tabor piled on the runs early, scoring in each of the first six innings to enjoy a 12-1 lead through seven innings behind starter Jean Acevedo, who scattered six hits and one earned run over seven innings to earn the win while walking two batters and striking out 11.

But just when it appeared the Bluejays were equipped to cruise to the finish, Tabor hit a bump in the road in the eighth inning.

Kansas Wesleyan?s Daniel Bolanos, who ranks third in NAIA Division I in home runs per game and leads the KCAC, roughed up reliever Michael Ebersole for a leadoff home run, and, following a base hit, AJ Kissinger hit a two-run blast. The Coyotes gained momentum and continued to reach base, knocking out a one-out single followed by an RBI double and a one-run single to cut the deficit to 12-6. Gregory Turner came in to pitch and gave up one hit, which scored one final Coyote run, before retiring the next two batters he faced to get out of the inning.

Turner retired the side in order in the top of the ninth to preserve Tabor?s five-run victory.

Closing pitcher Gregory Turner, catcher Armando Castillo and teammates celebrate after securing the final out in Tabor?s 12-7 championship victory over Kansas Wesleyan.Offensively, the Bluejays got to Coyote starter Brandon Wescher early, tagging him for five hits and five runs (all earned) in 1 2/3 innings of work.

Matthew Molbury launched a three-run home run off Wescher to key a four-run first inning that gave the Bluejays an early lead. In the second inning, Tabor jumped on Wescher for a walk and a pair of hits, including an RBI single by Jerrik Sigg that ended Wescher?s outing after 38 pitches. After two innings, Tabor led, 5-0.

The Coyotes led off the third inning with a home run, then worked to load the bases with no outs. In what was perhaps the defining moment of the game, Acevedo escaped the jam with three consecutive strikeouts.

Matthew Molbury returns home after hitting a three-run home run in the first inning against Kansas Wesleyan.After that, Colton Flax hit a two-run home run off reliever David Herrera in the third inning, and Gadiel Baez highlighted a two-run fourth inning with an RBI double.

With Joey Evans on the mound to start the bottom of the fifth inning, Manny DeLeon belted the first pitch he saw over the center field fence. Evans did not make it out of the inning, and by the end of the frame, Tabor had scored two runs off three hits and held an 11-1 lead.

Tabor plated its 12th run off two hits in the sixth inning, which was highlighted by a double by Armando Castillo, and a scoreless seventh inning led up to the eighth inning.

Five Coyotes saw time on the mound, with Wescher absorbing the loss.

Third baseman Alex Couch and teammates give coach Mark Standiford a celebratory shower following Tabor?s 12-7 KCAC tournament championship victory over Kansas Wesleyan.Tabor tallied 15 hits in the game. Baez was 3-for-3 and had two RBIs. Molbury and Flax each had three RBIs.

Coming?Tabor has punched its ticket to the NAIA Opening Round tournament May 12-15. Seedings are yet to be announced.

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