Tabor moves into first in KCAC

Tommy Sleva fires a pitch during Game 2 with Kansas Wesleyan Saturday. Sleva was credited with the save in Tabor’s 6-3 win, throwing two shutout innings of relief. He was also credited with a save in Tabor’s 15-1 win over Dallas Christian Monday. He ranks 21st nationally in saves.The 10th-ranked Tabor College baseball team has moved into first place in the KCAC after sweeping a three-game series with Kansas Wesleyan last weekend.

The Bluejays outscored the Coyotes, 21-10, in the series, and out-hit the visitors, 32-16, and although coach Mark Standiford said he was pleased with the sweep, he still sees room for improvement.

“We still haven’t put a whole game together yet, but we’re working on it,” he said. “I thought for the most part, we pitched okay. They’re a very good hitting team, so I was happy about that. It was cold, so scoring runs was going to be a little more difficult, too, in the rain. I thought we adapted okay, but I still think we have room for improvement. We need to be a little more consistent at the plate. We need to be a little more consistent on the mound, but I think they made a step in the right direction.”

Tabor won Game 1 Saturday, 5-3.

Trailing 2-0 after Kansas Wesleyan put up single tallies in both the second and fifth innings, the Bluejays roughed up Coyote starter Brandon Wescher in the bottom of the fifth inning.

With the Bluejays batting at the top of the lineup, Tabor loaded the bases with singles by Abdiel Alicea, Jake Jones and Jordan Harris. Colton Flax hit a sacrifice fly to score Tabor’s first run, then Jones scored on a wild throw. After that, Haydon Mahe-Liessmann worked a walk and Joel Frias was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Braxon Byfield was hit by a pitch, allowing Tabor’s third run to score and forcing a Coyote pitching change. Mahe-Liessmann scored when Raulier Martinez reach base on the fielder’s choice.

Harris hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to conclude Tabor’s scoring.

The Coyotes scored their final run with an RBI double in the top of the seventh.

Harris was 4-for-4 at-bat and had one RBI.

Jagger Harjo (6-0) earned the pitching win. In seven innings, he gave up four hits and three earned runs. He walked six batters and struck out three. Skyler Cohn (5-1-1) earned the save, pitching two shutout innings of relief and giving up one hit while walking no one and striking out two batters.

Tabor won Game 2, 6-3.

The game was tied at 1 through two innings of play after Tabor scored a run off Colton Flax’s ground out and Kansas Wesleyan hit a solo home run in the top of the second.

A five-run bottom of the third provided all the run support the Bluejays needed. Tabor knocked out four hits in the frame, keyed by John Izquierdo’s two-run home run. The Coyotes made three errors in the half-inning.

Kansas Wesleyan scored its final two runs in the top of the fifth via a two-run home run.

The Coyotes made five errors in the game.

Haydon Mahe-Liessmann and Braxon Byfield were each 2-for-3 at-bat. Izquierdo had two RBIs.

Jahaziel Cantu (3-2) earned the pitching win. In five innings of work, he gave up three hits and three earned runs. He walked no one and struck out four batters.

Tommy Sleva (0-2-4) was credited with the save. He pitched two scoreless innings of relief, giving up one hit, walking one batter and striking out two Coyotes.

Tabor won Game 3, 10-4, Sunday, benefitting from a nine-hit, eight-run bottom of the fourth inning to erase what had been a 4-0 deficit to that point, after the Coyotes scored all four via the long ball.

Kansas Wesleyan went to the bullpen after Tabor knocked out its fifth hit of the inning, but the Bluejays roughed up reliever Travis Schnoor for four hits—including two-run doubles by Jordan Harris and Braxon Byfield—and four runs in 1⁄3 inning of work. The Coyotes went to the pen again to secure the final out.

Harris (4-1) replaced Bluejay starter Edwin Suarez in the top of the fifth inning and threw five scoreless innings of relief to earn the pitching win. He scattered four hits in the outing while walking one batter and striking out four.

Haydon Mahe-Liessmann highlighted the two-run, two-hit bottom of the sixth with an RBI double. The Coyotes made two errors in the frame.

Tabor recorded 18 hits in the game. Jake Jones and Mahe-Liessmann were each 4-for-5 at-bat. Harris and Byfield each had two RBIs.

Dallas Christian—Tabor swept a three-game series Monday and Tuesday.

Tabor won Game 1, 15-1. Michael Box (2-0) earned the pitching win, giving up six hits and one unearned run in four innings. He walked one batter and struck out two. Tommy Sleva (0-2-3) was credited with the save.

Offensively, Jake Jones was 4-for-5 at-bat. Colton Flax hit a three-run home run to lead the Bluejays in runs batted in.

Tabor took the lead for good with a seven-run bottom of the second inning.

The Bluejays won Game 2, 9-0.

Jordan Harris (3-1) earned the pitching win, surrendering one hit in four scoreless innings. He walked three batters and struck out two.

Abdiel Alicea and Raulier Martinez were each 2-for-3 at-bat. Joel Frias and Martinez each drove in two runs.

Tabor won Game 3, 6-5, in 11 innings. The Bluejays put up single tallies in the third, fifth, seventh, eight and ninth innings to tie the game at 5-5.

Jaxson Hooge hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 11th.

Jake Jones was 3-for-5 at-bat. Hooge had two RBIs.

Skyler Cohn (5-1) earned the pitching win. He gave up three hits in 22⁄3 scoreless innings of relief. He walked one batter and struck out two.

Coming—Tabor (9-3, 26-7) will play at Sterling (8-4, 22-8) Friday and Saturday. Friday’s nine-inning game is set to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled to begin at noon.

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