Bluejays hit nationally ranked WSU after Sterling split


Tabor first baseman Dustin Dick makes the stretch grab in time to make the putout in Game 2 against Ottawa. Andrew Ottoson / Free Press

The Tabor College baseball team enters final week of the regular season in last place after posting one win in the previous eight conference games.

The Bluejays winless streak began with an 10-run loss at Bethany April 5 and the drought persisted until the second game of this week?s rescheduled doubleheader at Sterling.

Ottawa swiped two games from Tabor in Hillsboro April 15, outscoring the Bluejays 32-11.

Tabor traveled to Sterling the next day, and the Bluejays broke out of their funk with an 11-5 win in the second game.

The Bluejays visited Wichita State to cap the run of five games in three days. The Shockers played it cool on a misty Thursday evening in Wichita and still posted a 10-1 win.

Wichita State?Tabor knocked two singles and drew a walk in the top of the first, but left two runners on base and scored no runs.

WSU threatened in the bottom half of the inning and broke through with the game?s first run in the bottom of the second.

Chris Brown swiped second base with one out in the third, but the inning ended without a clutch hit.

Alfred Wilson mowed down the Shockers in the third, and the Bluejays led the hit count 5-4 entering the fourth.

Shockers reliever Justin Kemp worked the top half of the fourth without allowing a baserunner, and the WSU bats caused all manner of trouble for Wilson in the bottom half.

A 2-out error put a runner at second for Andy Dirks, who drove a 2-1 pitch for an double to to right field. Dirks stole third and scored WSU?s second unearned run of the inning. A third unearned marker came across before the inning ended on a groundout to shortstop Jordan Lago.

Wilson and Lago both walked to lead off the top of the fifth, and Wilson advanced to third on a wild pitch. Brown?Tabor?s leading RBI-man?grounded into a double play to bring Wilson home.

Wilson started the fifth and recorded the first two outs on six pitches. But a 2-out single by Grant Muncrief turned into an earned run three batters later.

That ended Wilson?s evening on the hill, and the Bluejays beat out one hit the rest of the way.

Wichita State?ranked fifth in the NCAA at the time?added five more to close it out.

Sterling?Tyler Suderman worked six innings in the opener, allowing five runs?two earned?on nine hits and came out on the wrong end of a 5-3 final score.

Tabor tallied three runs with their final six outs, but could not sustain the late charge.

But the momentum they gained carried over into the second game, and the Bluejays buried the Warriors under an eight-run avalanche in the first three innings.

Suderman doubled twice in four at bats and Eric LiCalsi scored three times in the contest.

Garret Boyer faced 28 batters and limited Sterling to five runs in seven innings.

More importantly, the Bluejays played flawless defense while watching the hosts commit five errors.

Ryan Boucher went 3-for-4 and the Bluejays tagged a total of 13 hits in the contest.

Ottawa?Tabor had hammered the Braves on their home field 13-9, 13-8 at the start of conference play, but Ottawa got even by sweeping the Bluejays 19-5, 13-6 in Hillsboro.

The first game was effectively over midway through the third, as Ottawa had staked Eric Cordell?their staff ace?to a 14-2 lead. The second game saw Ottawa post 12 runs in four innings?four of which were the unearned progeny of errors.

?We don?t have a lot of strikeout pitchers, so it?s important for our defense to be on top of its game,? coach Chad Newhard reported. ?If our pitchers are going strong, our defense keeps us in a lot of games and gives our offense an opportunity to win some games,?

Coming?Tabor (6-14) closes the season with four games against the KCAC?s two best teams. Kansas Wesleyan (12-6) hosts the Bluejays for a doubleheader in Salina today and Tabor wraps up the regular season Saturday afternoon at home against Saint Mary (11-7).

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