STERLING, Colo. – The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team scored three late runs to capture an Empire Conference win over Northeastern Junior College Monday afternoon at Sterling, Colorado.
The win moves the Cougars to 12-18 in conference play and is now tied with Miles Community College for the fourth and remaining spot for the regional tournament. WNCC and Miles will hook up in a 6-game series this weekend to decide the final team for the regional tournament. NJC drops to 17-14 in the conference.
Monday’s contest saw WNCC outhit NJC 14-9. Both teams left a lot of guys on base. WNCC left 10 on base while NJC left eight on the bags.
WNCC struck first with a run in the first before NJC answered with two in the bottom of the frame. The Cougars came back to grab a 3-1 lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth inning. The lead didn’t last long as NJC plated two in the fifth for a 4-3 lead.
WNCC tied the game at 4-4 in the eighth as Tyler Olson scored on a passed ball. WNCC kept that momentum going in the ninth. With two outs and two on, Tyler Shubert singled in Brandan Maher with the go-ahead run. Esai Hernandez followed with a run-scoring double to push the lead to 6-4.
A big key in the win was the pitching staff. Jacob Pekol started and went four innings in allowing two runs on four hits while striking out three. It was then the relief pitchers Claude Bova and Zach Berg that stepped up late. Bova and Berg stopped NJC in the eighth and ninth innings getting 3-up-3-down to get the win.
Bova picked up the win going four innings in allowing five hits and two runs. Bova struck out three. Berg picked up the save, tossing a perfect ninth inning while striking out one.
WNCC was led at the plate by Shubert and Cole Williams, who each had three hits. Both had a double with a RBI in the contest.
Jonathan Bermudez and Hernandez each had two hits. Hernandez had a double with two RBIs. Mitch Lightbody had a double in the contest, while Tommy McRill had a triple.
WNCC 100 110 012 – 6 14 1
NJC 200 020 000 – 4 9 4
WP – Claude Bova; S – Zach Berg
2B – Esai Hernandez, Cole Williams, Tyler Shubert, Mitch Llightbody.
3B – Tommy McRill