Tabor baseball still competing for KCAC?title

Coming off splits in series involving its two longest KCAC road trips at St. Mary and Ottawa, Tabor baseball finds itself two games behind the KCAC leader Ottawa and one game back from runner-up Kansas Wesleyan.

With eight KCAC games left (two four-game series) against Kansas Wesleyan later this week and against Friends April 29 and May 1, Tabor (23-25, 10-6) can control its own destiny.

The top of the KCAC baseball standings is a logjam with five teams within three games of the leader.

Ottawa (14-6) holds the top spot, followed by Kansas Wesleyan (11-5), Tabor, Sterling (9-7) and Bethany (11-9).

How the next two weeks play out will decide the seeding for the five-team, double-elimination KCAC Tournament, starting May 5 at Rathert Stadium in Junction City.

Tabor coach Mark Standi?ford said that the Bluejays are definitely in the hunt for the regular-season KCAC?title.

?We?ve still got a shot, no doubt,? he said. ?Our room for error is not very much right now.?

To keep the title hopes alive, the Bluejays will need to show well against surging Kansas Wesleyan. The Coyotes have won six straight and are coming off a four-game sweep of Bethany.

Tabor will have to hit well and keep the Coyotes off the basepaths ino order to compete with the defending KCAC regular season and tournament champs.

?Their four starters are very good,? Standiford said about KWU. ?In fact there as good as anybody in the conference.

He added, ?They swing the bats well. They do like to run quite a bit a s well so we?ll need to obviously shut down that part of the game.?

In last week?s four-game series with Ottawa, Tabor split, falling 6-4 in Game 1, and winning 14-9 in the second game in Hillsboro Thursday.

At Ottawa Saturday, the Bluejays lost in nine innings. They fell 7-6 in the first game, but rallied in the second game for a 3-2 win.

Leading at one point in all of the series games, Tabor blew its biggest lead in Game 3.

Up 6-3 going into the bottom of the eighth, Ottawa scored three runs to send the game to one more inning. Ottawa won the game, scoring in the bottom of the ninth.

?I know that was a tough loss, probably the toughest loss we had all year,? said Standi?ford.

In a low-scoring series finale, Tabor bounced back with a close win. ?To be able to come back and win that next game was pretty good.?

Standiford saw signs this week from guyst he will look to going into the post-season.

?I thought our pitching did pretty well, especially the two games at Ottawa,? Standiford said. ?We got two outstanding pitching performances. One from John Murray, one from Zach Cremers.?

In the series finale win, Cremers (2-2) picked up the pitching victory out of the bullpen, working 41?3 innings, striking out two and allowing three hits and one run.

In the Game 3 loss, Murray pitched six innings, striking out four and allowing three hits and three runs.

Standiford is hoping for similiar performances from the rest of his pitching staff.

?Once we get to the conference tournament, those are nine-inning games, our pitching depth is going to be at a premium,? he said. ?We need to have guys we can rely to come in.?

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