Following a 13-3 upset of Fort Hays State and a split of a four-game series with Kansas Wesleyan Friday and Saturday, Tabor (26-17, 12-8) heads into the final week of the regular season tied with Sterling (19-25, 12-8) for third place in the KCAC.
Tabor?s offense exploded in the road win against NCAA Division II foe Fort Hays Wednesday.
Tabor scored one in the third, one in the fourth and three in the fifth for a 5-0 advantage. FHSU scored one in the sixth, but a six-run seventh by Tabor killed any hopes of a Tiger comeback. The game ended after eight innings because of the run rule.
Nicholas Reif pitched six innings, allowing four hits and one run in the victory. Paul Bridenbaugh was 3-for-5 with four runs batted in.
Tabor had a chance to move up in the KCAC standings, facing the Coyotes in their four-game series Friday and Saturday.
Originally scheduled to start Thursday in Salina, but postponed because of rain, the series began Friday in Hillsboro. Tabor won the first game 4-3 then lost Game 2, 8-4. In Salina Satur?day, Tabor won Game 1, 1-0, and lost Game 2, 12-6.
In the series opener, C.J. Henrichsen ended the game with a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh. It was his first home run of the season.
?I was sitting up there looking for a fastball,? Henrichsen said. ?He threw me a slider, and I just stayed back on it enough to put it over the fence.?
Henrichsen drove home Dustin Dick, who had reached base on a bunt.
?I was just reading the third baseman,? Dick said. ?He was playing back and I knew I needed to get on base so I just laid one down.?
Henrichsen?s home run was the first score since the top of the third. Kansas Wesleyan took a 3-2 lead on a two-RBI double by Ronnie Romo. The other run for the Coyotes came on a lead-off solo home run from Travis Irwin in the top of the first.
In the bottom of the second, Tabor took a 2-1 lead. Jake Mays scored the Bluejays? first run, courtesy of a double to left by Dick. Tanner Stevenson scored on an error by the KWU shortstop.
Pitcher Tyler Fenton picked up the win, going two-thirds of an inning. Jonathan Murray started the game and pitched 61?3 innings, giving up three runs, striking out five and walking one.
Henrichsen finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs, a run scored and a home run. Dick went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
In the 1-0 victory at Salina, Fenton and Paul Bridenbaugh combined for a five-hit shutout.
Fenton (7-2) was awarded his second win of the series, working 42?3 innings, giving up four hits, striking out two and walking three. Bridenbaugh allowed one hit in 21?3 innings, picking up the save, his fourth.
Coming?Two games behind KCAC leader Ottawa (24-15, 14-6) and one game behind second-place Kansas Wesleyan (26-15, 13-7), Tabor has one four-game series left (against Friends) to grab the regular-season KCAC title.
Even if the Bluejays sweep the Falcons (4-31, 1-16), Tabor will need some help from Sterling (19-26,11-8) and St. Mary (8-29, 5-12).
Sterling plays KWU and St. Mary plays Ottawa in four-game series to end the regular seasons. If Tabor sweeps Friends, Sterling would have to win three of four against the Coyotes for the Bluejays to move up in the standings.
Likewise, if Tabor sweeps Friends, St. Mary would have to sweep Ottawa in order for the Bluejays to move ahead of Ottawa. To take the top spot, Tabor needs both mentioned scenarios to play out.
Tabor?s four-game series against Friends is scheduled to start with a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Thursday in Hillsboro. The series, and the Bluejays? regular season, will conclude with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday in Wichita.