A grand slam home run by Abdiel Alicea in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted Tabor College to a 5-4 victory Saturday over nationally ranked No. 5 Oklahoma Wesleyan University, avoiding a three-game sweep by the Eagles in a key KCAC matchup at Hillsboro.
Trailing the visitors 4-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning of the seven-inning game, leadoff hitter Will Clark singled up the middle. Jason Alsop, pinch-hitting for catcher Brandon Garcia, then doubled to deep right.
With Bluejays at second and third, Freddy Walker was hit by a pitch from the OKWU reliever, loading the bases. Alicea then blasted a 1-2 pitch over the right field fence for the dramatic win.
OKWU opened the series Friday with a 23-4 thumping of the home team in a game that ended by run rule after seven innings.
The Bluejays fell behind 5-0 after the first half inning, thanks in part to two home runs by OKWU against starting pitcher Brandon Whetnight, who gave up 13 runs in 3.1 innings, including 12 earned runs.
Tabor scored one run in the third inning and three in the fourth, but the Bluejays still trailed, 14-4. Tabor managed 10 hits against OKWU pitchers while the visitors collected 23 hits, including five home runs.
The Eagles completed the doubleheader sweep with an 8-3 win in the nightcap. Tabor led the Eagles 2-1 after two innings, but a three-run third inning by OKWU turned the tide against the home team.
Pitcher Nathan Arruda absorbed the loss for the Bluejays, surrendering seven runs over four innings.
Coming—Heading into the new week, Tabor is in third place in the KCAC and 14-12 overall while OKWU leads the conference at 13-2 and is 21-3 for the year.
Tabor was scheduled to play a doubleheader Monday at Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Okla., followed by a twinbill against College of the Ozarks at Baldwin City on Wednesday.
Tabor will cap the week with a three-game KCAC series against Southwestern College in Winfield, starting with a single game on Friday and a doubleheader on Saturday.