With a two-game sweep Saturday over the Ottawa Braves, the Tabor Bluejays gave Coach Mark Standiford career win number 400.
All 400 have come as the head coach of the Bluejays. In his 10th year at the Bluejay helm, Standiford is the all-time winningest coach in Tabor College history at 400-168.
Standiford has created a level of excellence and expectations not seen before in TC baseball, as he’s guided the Jays to five conference titles, six appearances in the Opening Round of the NAIA College World Series, and two ventures into the World Series in 2014 and 2015.
Coming into this season, Tabor has produced seven consecutive seasons of 40 wins or more, including two over 50. Numerous players have received All-Conference awards, NAIA All-American honors and 10 have gone on to professional careers.
Having dropped the first game in the three-game set Thursday to the Braves, Tabor was looking to sweep the Saturday games to give Standiford the milestone at home.
With the 14-5 and 10-4 victories, the Bluejays were able to accomplish it. More important, the wins keep them within striking distance of the now co-leaders of the KCAC, Oklahoma Wesleyan and Friends, who both sit at 17-4.
Tabor ends the weekend 13-5 in the conference.
In Saturday’s opener, Nathan Arruda pitched six solid innings of three-hit baseball. While he did give up four runs (three earned), he allowed the Bluejays to jump out to a lead, before surrendering those in the third and fourth innings.
This was in contrast to Thursday’s game, where the Bluejays were playing from behind all day.
By the time Arruda exited, Tabor led 9-4 behind the hitting of Abdiel Alicea Diaz and Jaxson Hooge, who both hit home runs in the second inning.
Alicea and Hooge both finished with three hits in the game, while Freddy Walker, Graham Wiebe and Cameron Pope each contributed two hits. Tabor would end the game with 15 hits and just one error.
Darrick Watts pitched three innings in relief, giving up just one run while scattering six hits.
Game 2 saw the Bluejays jump to a quick 7-0 lead after three innings, fueled by Alicea, Hooge and Pope.
On the mound for Tabor in the series finale, Mitchell McIntyre allowed four runs (none earned) while surrendering six hits in 5.2 innings.
Pope led the offense with three hits, including a double. Hooge, Alicea and Wyatt Nowak each chipped in with two hits for the Jays. Hayden Wheeler and Tommy Sleva pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.
Tabor is now 22-13 on the season, and has won nine of their last 10, starting with the rousing come-from-behind win over OKWU in the third game of the series, highlighted by Alicea’s walk-off grand slam.
Coming—Tabor travels to Sterling for a three-game set with the Warriors, starting Friday afternoon with a single, nine-inning game and a doubleheader on Saturday.—Tabor College