Bluejays take three from Sterling

The No. 11 Tabor College baseball team took three of four from 21st-ranked Sterling last week.

?(Sterling is) a very good team,??coach Mark Standiford said. ?They swing the bats very well and they pitch very well. To be able to take three of four from Sterling?s always nice.?

The series began Friday with a Bluejay sweep.

Tabor won Game 1, 11-7. The Bluejays faced last year?s Co-Pitcher of the Year, Jose Rendon. Last year, he threw a three-hitter in a shutout of Tabor.

This time, the Bluejays roughed Rendon up for 12 hits in 52?3 innings to hand him a loss.

Sterling hit a two-run home run in the second inning, but Tabor capitalized on three Warrior errors in the frame, recording four hits and scoring five runs.

Joel Frias hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third to increase Tabor?s lead to 7-2, and Manny DeLeon hit a solo shot in the fifth.

Sterling scored twice in the sixth. The Bluejays faced three pitchers in the frame, ending Rendon?s outing at 93 pitches, then coaxing three walks (two with bases loaded) from reliever Kenny Hanson, before John Jaeger secured the final out. By that time, Tabor led, 11-4

Sterling added three runs in the eighth, all via the long ball, to conclude scoring.

Four Bluejays had two hits: Shaw, Martinez, Frias and Neufeld.

Thomas Longworth (6-3) earned the win. He scattered six hits and four runs (all earned) over six innings of work. He walked one batter and struck out three.

?Thomas came in and gave us exactly what we needed,??Standiford said. ?Our bullpen was able to step up and obviously close it out.?

Tabor won Game 2 in eight innings, 5-4.

Sterling plated all four runs via the long ball off Tommy Sleva, who started to give Greg Turner another day?s rest.

Manuel Reyes came in to pitch in relief in the top of the fourth and threw 42?3 scoreless innings while surrendering one hit to earn the pitching win. He walked four batters and struck out four.

After Michael Baca?s RBI single in the third, DeLeon hit a two-run home run in the fourth. Tabor tied it when Neufeld hit a one-out double and scored on Shaw?s RBI single in the fifth.

In the seventh, DeLeon saved what would have been the go-ahead run with a laser throw from right field, and Martinez applied the tag at the plate.

Baca led off the eighth with a leadoff single and advanced to second and then third on wild pitches. Sterling intentionally walked Alex Couch and DeLeon to load the bases, and Baca scored on a wild pitch to end the game in walk-off fashion.

Baca was 2-for-4 at-bat and had one RBI.

Tabor split Saturday?s doubleheader, winning Game 1, 10-9.

The Bluejays scored all 10 runs in the third inning and needed every one of them as Sterling narrowed the gap to one with a four-run eighth inning. The Warriors built a 4-0 lead through two innings.

Ryan Neufeld led off the bottom of the third with a double. AJ Shaw bunted and reached base, then Michael Baca reached base on the fielder?s choice, allowing the first run to score. Then Alex Couch hit a one-out, three-run home run to clear the bases.

Manny DeLeon and Joel Frias hit singles to sandwich a strike out, and Colton Flax worked a walk to load the bases. Neufeld recorded his second hit of the frame: a two-RBI single. Shaw reached on an error to load the bases, then Baca launched a grand slam over the right field fence. Sterling secured the third out with a pitching change.

?We were able to plate those runs, which is huge because we didn?t do anything after that,? Standiford said. ?But we were able to hang on.?

After that, John Jaeger shut the Bluejays out, scattering three hits over his 51?3 innings of relief.

Sterling added a run in the sixth, then scored four in the eighth, thanks in part to a two-run home run.

Three Bluejays were 2-for-4 at-bat: Couch (three RBIs), Neufeld (two RBIs) and Shaw. Baca had five RBIs.

Greg Turner (6-3) earned the pitching win. He gave up 10 hits and five runs (three earned) in six innings, while walking two batters and striking out one. Jahaziel Cantu (3-1) was credited with the save.

Tabor lost Game 2, 9-5.

Sterling starter Kade Wagner surrendered two hits through five innings, including a two-run home run by Baca in the third inning that provided Tabor?s only scoring in that stretch. Sterling, meanwhile, built a 9-2 lead, while facing five different Bluejay pitchers. Colton Moore held Sterling scoreless in the final 21?3 innings.

Tabor scored on Jerrik Sigg?s RBI single in the sixth and plated two more in the seventh, but couldn?t make up the difference.

Neufeld was 2-for-3 and had one RBI.

Dylan Algra (0-1) absorbed the pitching loss. He gave up two hits and three runs (all earned) in two innings of work. He both walked and struck out one batter.

Kansas Wesleyan?After sweeping Saturday?s doubleheader with the Coyotes, 21-8 and 13-10, Tabor lost two games at Kansas Wesleyan Monday. The Bluejays lost Game 1, 14-11, and Game 2, 11-9.

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