The Tabor College baseball team played Friday's home doubleheader against Bethany with a sense of urgency, sweeping the set with a two come-from-behind wins, 7-6 and 8-6. Bethany got even with two seventh-inning rallies, 4-3, 7-6, to sweep the second half of the home-and-home Saturday in Lindsborg.
Having trailed Friday's first game 5-0 and 6-1, the Bluejays rallied to knot it at 6-6 through six, then broke the tie in the bottom of the seventh with a single, a sacrifice bunt, a walk, and a game-winning single to right field.
Right fielder Clayton Kessler did most of the damage for Tabor, driving in three runs with a pair of singles and scoring twice himself.
Quinton Smith relieved Wes Stancher with two down in the fourth, limited Bethany to one run, and picked up the win.
The Swedes temporarily stole back the momentum with a 2-out 3-run homer in the first inning of the second game, and took a 6-2 lead with a second 2-out 3-run jack in the top of the fourth.
But the Bluejays, fresh off a 9-5 come-from-behind win over Dordt, broke out their rally caps for a third straight contest.
Tabor used a pair of seeing-eye grounders to score twice in the bottom of the fourth, then turned a 6-4-3 double play in support of starting pitcher Andrew Cook in the top of the fifth. The Bluejays smashed two hard-hit singles and a 2-run double in the bottom of the fifth, and Cook worked a 1-2-3 sixth.
Tabor then notched two soft hits against a Bethany reliever in the bottom of the sixth, and took a 7-6 lead on Tyson Kendrick's single. The Bluejays tacked on an insurance run with another single, and Smith closed it with a 1-hit seventh.
The key double belonged to Paul Bridenbaugh, who went 3-for-4 with three RBI while leadoff hitter and shortstop CJ Henrichsen drove in two runs with two singles. Kessler and designated hitter Tyson Kendrick each scored twice.
March 17 against Dordt, Tabor scored eight runs in the ninth, half of which came on one swing by Tanner Stephenson?a walk-off grand slam home run. But away from the friendly confines of their home park Saturday, the Bluejays stumbled.
Trailing 2-0 after the fourth, Tabor tied it with a 2-run single by Cook in the top of the sixth, and took a short-lived 1-run lead in the top of the seventh. But Bethany scratched out two runs?one unearned?against Travis Schafer in the bottom of the seventh to break the Bluejays streak.
Tabor jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but could not withstand Bethany's offense, which posted single runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings and 2-run frames in the sixth and seventh.
Even so, the Bluejays offense kept them in the game long enough to take a 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh. But Bethany pulled the rug out from under Smith, who had relieved Bridenbaugh after 15 outs. Smith was hampered by three walks and three hits allowed in the final two innings.
Coming?The Bluejays played spring break road games at Rogers State and Oklahoma Wesleyan before a weekend home-and-home against Ottawa. Tabor visits Ottawa Friday, and hosts at 1 p.m. Saturday. Oklahoma Wesleyan visits for a 9-inning game slated for 2 p.m. Monday.