The Spires eeked out a 7-1 win that was, for six innings, contested much more closely than the final tally suggests. Saint Mary won the second game 8-2.
Saint Mary?With their post-season hopes on the line, Tabor put the ball in Travis Schafer?s hands. He mowed down the Spires in the top of the first and took a 1-0 lead in the bottom half.
A triple by Alfred Wilson turned into the game?s first run on a groundout by Jordan Lago.
Saint Mary seized the lead in the top of the second, turning a 1-out walk into a 2-run inning.
Spires hurler Carlos Martinez recorded six consecutive outs. With help from the Bluejay defense, Schafer matched him pitch for pitch.
In the top of the third, help came in the form of an unconventional double play. Second baseman Shinsuke Kosugi snared the drive in the air and threw to Lago, who cut in behind a baserunner who had leaned a little too far toward third base to retreat in time.
Schafer moved along smoothly until the top of the sixth, which began with a leadoff walk.
But the runner was sliced down trying to score one batter later. A Saint Mary batter rifled a shot into right field, where Dustin Dick gathered it on one hop and sent a strike to Andrew Cook, who relayed to Chris Brown at home.
But Schafer had considerable work left to get out of the inning. An intentional walk followed by a conventional walk filled the bases, but Schafer escaped the jam. Cook recorded the second out by running down a popup in foul territory, and Schafer struck out the sixth man to come to the plate in the inning.
The strikeout turned into offensive momentum?for a moment, anyway?when Kosugi singled to lead off. It was only the second hit Tabor recorded against Martinez.
Dick laid down an effective sacrifice bunt to move the tying run to second, and the top of the order came to the plate.
Wilson was immediately walked, and Lago worked his way into a full count before flying out.
With two down, Chris Brown came to the plate and promptly smoked a deep fly to right-center. But Tim Martin ran it down deep in the gap, and that was it for the home half of the sixth.
The Spires broke though for five runs in the top of the seventh, and Martinez struck out two of the final three.
Cook was Tabor?s final batter, and he hammered a ball high and deep into right center. Martin also ran that ball down?and ran teammate Brandon Flood down in a full-stride collision just shy of the warning track. The heavy hit left both players in a heap, but one or the other made the catch.
The second game saw Martin take the hill to record four strikeouts while limiting Tabor to two runs. The Bluejays trailed 2-1 after the first, imploded in the fifth, and ended up on the short side of an 8-2 final score.
Lago banged out two hits in three at bats, but no other Bluejay recorded more than one. Wilson went 1-for-2 with a solo home run.
Kansas Wesleyan?Andrew Cook started the first game, scattered six hits and induced inning-ending double play balls in the first and second innings. But the promising start ended in a 2-0 loss.
K-W scored twice in the third, and Casey Barnes made it stand up for the Coyotes. A lead single followed by a double and a stolen base set the table for Brandon Mathes, who made it 2-0 with a single back through the box.
Tabor?s best scoring chance came with two outs in the fourth, but ended with Aaron Stepanek thrown out at home trying to score on a wild pitch.
The Bluejays poured out offense in three torrential bursts in support of Clayton Kessler against Coyote ace Shaun Sumter in the second game.
Running for Chris Brown, Stepanek crossed the plate with Tabor?s only run in the first inning, but he uncorked a downpour. Aided by two errors, four Bluejays scored in the second to chase Sumter from the contest.
Alfred Wilson bashed a 2-run double that scored Cook and Kosugi and scored on a single by Jordan Lago. Lago scored on a single by Tyler Sizemore.
Kessler stranded two Coyotes in the bottom of the second, striking out a pinch hitter looking to end the inning.
Tabor turned it into a rout with eight in the top of the third, and Kessler snuffed out a short-lived rally.
K-W turned a lead double into their only run, and two miscues by the Tabor defense threatened to multiply the damage. But Kessler baited designated hitter Ronny Romo into a fielder?s choice grounder that ended the threat. Two innings later, the umpires invoked the mercy rule to end the game after the minimum five frames.
It was Sumter?s first loss of the season. He led the Coyotes with a 2.12 ERA?and finished second in the conference in the category.