Wayne State College scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to win the opener and two in the bottom of the eighth in the second game to sweep Upper Iowa 7-5 and 7-6 in Northern Sun Conference baseball played Thursday afternoon at the Pete Chapman Baseball Complex in Wayne. The Wildcats are now 20-18 and 15-11 in league play while UIU drops to 14-20 and 10-16 in the NSIC.
In the opener, senior Aaron Krier’s two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the sixth gave the Wildcats a 7-5 win over the Peacocks.
With the score tied at 2-2 after four innings, UIU took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth. WSC countered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth on Kyle Thompson’s RBI double and a RBI single from David Janes to put the ‘Cats back in front 4-3.
UIU responded with two runs in the top of the sixth for a 5-4 lead, but WSC came back one more time and scored three in the bottom of the frame for the 7-5 win. Jackson Petersen’s single scored pinch-runner Cody Castro with the first run, then Krier went opposite field for a two-run blast over the right field wall to score Petersen with the go ahead runs.
Lefthander Kyle Kennebeck came on in the top of the seventh, but had to escape a bases loaded jam to hang on for the 7-5 Wildcat win.
Both teams had 11 hits in the contest. Thompson was 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Tanner Simons was 2 for 4 with an RBI and run scored while Krier was 1 for 3 with his two-run homer and two runs scored.
Reliever Keenan Breen (4-0) notched the win with 2/3 innings work, allowing two hits after replacing starter Taner Ledezma. Kennebeck then worked the final inning and was charged with one hit and two walks before getting out of a jam to notch his third save of the year.
The second game played out very similar to the first as the Wildcats came up with two go ahead runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to post a 7-6 win over Upper Iowa.
WSC scored two in the first and two in the second followed by another run in the fourth for a 5-3 lead.
Upper Iowa tied the score with two runs in the fifth and took the lead at 6-5 with a single run in the seventh.
The cardiac Wildcats came back again in the eighth inning with two runs to gain the lead for good. Krier produced an RBI single that scored pinch-runner Peyton Barnes (Bodie Cooper walk), then freshman Jackson Petersen came through with the game-winning hit lacing a single to right field that scored Tandon Dorn (walk) with the go ahead run.
Kenneback came on again in the ninth and again got out of a jam to preserve the win. UIU had runners on first and third with just one out. A slow roller to first was fielded by Simons who gunned down the tying run at home plate for the second out. Then, Kennebeck struck out the final batter of the game on a called third strike to end the contest.
WSC had 10 hits in the win. Krier ended 3 for 5 with two triples. Cooper finished 2 for 3 with a double and two runs scored.
The Wildcats had the same pitchers of record in the second game as Breen, the fourth Wildcat hurler of the contest, worked a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts to get the win, now 5-0 on the year. Kennebeck worked another ninth inning and recorded another save, his fourth of the season.
WSC is on the road this weekend at Northern State for a four-game series with doubleheaders Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 12 p.m. in Aberdeen, South Dakota.