Wayne State built an 18-9 lead, but Emporia State rallied with 10 runs in the final three innings that included a walk-off three run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Hornets shocked the Wildcats 19-18 Wednesday afternoon in the season opener for the Wildcat baseball team at Trusler Sports Complex in Emporia, Kansas. ESU is now 3-5 on the season following the win.
The Wildcats opened the game with a three-run first inning. Brendan Madsen started the game reaching on an Emporia State error and scored on a Bryce Bisenius sacrifice fly for the first run of the 2021 season. CJ Neumann later delivered a two-run double that scored Eric Standish (walk) and Andrew Hanson (fielder’s choice) for a 3-0 WSC lead.
Emporia State erupted for six runs in the bottom of the third inning on four hits to take a 6-3 advantage.
Both teams scored single run in the fourth to make the score 7-4 with Wayne State’s run coming on a Noah Roberts solo homer.
WSC regained the lead in the top of the fifth inning with seven runs on just three hits, four walks and two Hornet errors. Alex Logelin had two hits in the inning for the Wildcats, a leadoff single to start the inning and a two-run double down the left field line later in the inning that gave WSC an 11-7 lead. An RBI single by Eric Standish was the only other Wildcat hit in the inning.
A five-run sixth inning gave the Wildcats a 16-7 cushion thanks to four hits and one Emporia State error. The ‘Cats scored all their runs with two outs and just one runner on base (Eric Standish walk).
Connor Fiene’s single to left field scored Standish for the first WSC run. Peyton Barnes followed with a two-run double that brought home Noah Roberts (walk) and Fiene. Barnes scored on a Madsen double to right center field with Madsen later scoring on a Hornet error to cap the inning.
The host Hornets responded with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, cutting the WSC advantage to 16-9.
The Wildcats countered with two runs in the top of the seventh as Bisenius singled and scored on a two-run homer from Standish for an 18-9 WSC lead.
But Emporia State roughed up the Wildcat bullpen in the seventh inning with six runs on three hits while taking advantage of four walks to cut the WSC lead to 18-15. The Hornets made the most of their three hits in the inning with a two-run double and a three-run homer.
Freshman reliever Brody Sintek came on and held ESU scoreless the next two innings to give the Wildcats a three-run lead entering the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Emporia State came up with three hits and a walk off Wildcat reliever Andrew Staebell capped by the walk-off three run blast for the dramatic come-from-behind win.
Wayne State had 14 hits in the contest, led by Alex Logelin going 3 for 6 with a double and two RBI. Peyton Barnes double twice, going 2 for 4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Designated hitter Eric Standish homered and went 2 for 4 with three RBI and four runs scored. Noah Roberts finished 2-3 with a homer and three runs scored while CJ Neumann was 2-5 with two RBI.
Seven pitchers worked in the game for the Wildcats as Staebell was tagged with the loss in the ninth inning. Senior Hunter Wienhoff started the game and worked 2 2/3 innings. Reliever Trenton Frerichs worked 2 1/3 innings of relief, allowing one run on two hits. Sintek fired two innings of scoreless relief and gave up just one hit with three strikeouts and two walks.
Wayne State resumes play next week playing a pair of nine-inning games at Newman University in Kansas on Tuesday (March 9) and Wednesday (March 10) in Wichita.