The Wayne State College baseball team closed the regular season Thursday afternoon with a split vs. Upper Iowa at the Pete Chapman Baseball Complex in Wayne after the mid-week twinbill was moved to Wayne due to inclement weather in northeast Iowa Wednesday. The Wildcats rallied from a 6-0 deficit to win the opener 10-7 but fell in the nightcap to the Peacocks 10-5. Wayne State is now 32-16 on the season and 23-12 in NSIC games while Upper Iowa is 12-25 and 9-23 in league play.
After a scoreless nine outs, the Peacocks ignited their offense early on in the opening game of the doubleheader, jousting Wildcat starter Hunter Wienhoff with six runs in the bottom of the second.
Heading to the top of the third, the Wildcats rallied with runs of their own. Garrett Graveline opened the inning for the ‘Cats as the Wildcat senior led off with a single to left field. Back-to-back bunts from Jake Lorenzini (single) and Brendan Madsen (sacrifice) grabbed runners on second and third with just one out. Alex Logelin’s 25th and 26th RBI of the season came off a single through the left side. An Andrew Hanson triple later in the inning brought two more Wildcats around, cutting into the deficit at 6-4 after two and a half innings of play.
Wayne State again grabbed runs in bulk in the top of the sixth, breaking up three innings of no runs in the contest. Travis Miller joined Wildcats with an RBI with his single that brought Bryce Bisenius (reached by error) home. Wayne State again used bunts to advance runners as both Graveline and Lorenzini grabbed an RBI as well as beating out the throw to first for infield singles. Logelin grabbed his second two RBI single of the afternoon before scoring on a Bisenius single in his second at bat of the inning. The six runs moved the Wildcats into a 10-6 lead entering the bottom of the sixth.
On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats received strong performances out of the bullpen. Freshman Josh Renken entered in the third inning, only seeing three batters as he retired the side. Sophomore Aaron Ras entered in the fourth inning, tossing 1.2 innings with only one hit and two strikeouts before being replaced by Cade Herrmann. The freshman pitched two innings of two hit ball, giving up one run on two strikeouts in his eventual winning performance. Andrew Staebell entered in the final out of the contest to earn the fourth save of his freshman season as the Wildcats won 10-7.
Logelin led the Wildcats with four RBI on a 2-4 performance while also crossing the plate twice. Five other Wildcats batted in runs, including two from Hanson. Herrmann moved to 5-1 on the year on the mound.
The second game started well for the Wildcats, grabbing a quick lead in the top of the first through an error by the Peacock third baseman to send home Madsen (reached by error). The Peacocks responded in the bottom of the second, also by an error to send a runner home.
Upper Iowa began to take control in the fourth, grabbing two runs in the bottom frame to give them a 3-1 lead. In only an inning later, they doubled their run count with three in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead to 6-1.
Wayne State scored off of a Peacock wild pitch to cut into the deficit in the sixth inning, but Upper Iowa responded yet again with a run of their own just an inning later. A CJ Neumann sacrifice fly and a Madsen single looked to give the Wildcats another push for a late comeback to close to within 7-5 after seven and a half innings.
The Peacocks continued their feistiness as they all but ensured a victory with three runs in the bottom of the eighth. A Hanson sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth gave the Wildcats a consolation run before dropping the second game of the doubleheader by a 10-5 scoreline.
Freshman Ryan Obrecht (7-1) was nabbed with his first loss of the season in the 3.1 inning outing. The rookie struck out four batters while giving up six hits. He was one of six Wildcat pitchers to work in the contest.
Andrew Hanson and Brendan Madsen each went 2 for 4 with an RBI and run scored for the Wildcats in the second game while Kyle Thompson doubled.
Wayne State will compete in the NSIC Tournament at St. Cloud, Minnesota starting Wednesday against an opponent to be determined.