11 runs averaged in four-game series

WSC baseball team won three of four games against Oklahoma Panhandle state


Photo By Mason Schweizer

Maggie Schulte shooting with a University of Mary defender on her.

Mason Schweizer, Staff Writer

After a sluggish start to the season, the Wayne State baseball team came to life over the weekend, plating 44 runs in a four-game series at Oklahoma Panhandle State, winning three of the four games to give themselves a 3-5 record.

In the first game of the set, the ‘Cats bats were stifled by Australian-born Samuel Beattie, who shutout WSC in a complete game, and the ‘Cats took the 3-0 loss.

Wayne State’s ace Keenan Breen picked up his second tough loss in as many starts, giving up three runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

“That’s how it’s been with our aces the past couple years,” coach Alex Koch said. “But hopefully he can keep being consistent and we can start getting him some wins.”

Saturday’s nightcap featured an explosion of offense from WSC. The ‘Cats collected 10 hits as well as 10 walks en route to a 13-1 pounding of the Aggies.

Curtis Bussard and Cody Jenkins set the tone for the rest of the lineup, collecting a pair of hits each. Bussard scored four runs, and Jenkins scored three.

“We really set the table with the guys at the top of the order,” Koch said.

The middle of the order was able to drive in the table-setters, with cleanup hitter Nate Ackerman driving in four runs and Albert Johnson driving in three of his own.

Tanner Ledezma picked up his first win of the season, tossing five innings of four-hit ball, surrendering one run.

With a 13-run game in their rearview, the offense flourished even more on Sunday. The ‘Cats put a crooked number on the scoreboard four different times, including combined 15 runs in the 4th and 5th innings to win by the football score of 22-3.

Cody Jenkins had the performance of a lifetime, going 6-6, driving in five runs and scoring five times himself, including a three-run homer.

“Cody had a great weekend, obviously, racking up 10 hits,” Koch said. “When you have 23 hits in a game, it’s hard to pick out just one guy, but Jenkins in particular was outstanding.”

Ackerman and Nate Krier also hit dingers in the offensive onslaught.

After starter Spencer Johnson struggled early, reliever Mathew Wood picked up his first win on the season, pitching 1 1/3 innings, walking a pair and giving up a pair of hits.

The offense continued into the finale, as a seven-run 2nd inning propelled WSC to an 11-6 victory.

Ackerman, who Koch said was phenomenal, hit his second homer of the day in the nightcap, and Chris May deposited one in the bleachers as well for the ‘Cats.

Freshman Mitch Ragan was sensational in his first start, tossing four innings of one-hit, one run ball. He struggled with control at times, walking six, but his defense behind him played well and he got big outs when he needed them.

“Our good pitching carried over from last weekend,” Koch said. “Our walk numbers were high and we need to work on that, but other than that our pitchers pitched well.”

The ‘Cats not only improved offensively over the weekend, but defensively as well.

“When we talk about guys that did well, all of our guys stood out defensively,” Koch said. “We only had one error on the weekend, which I’m most proud of after our defensive struggles last weekend.”

The ‘Cats will hope to carry their momentum into their spring break trip to the RussMatt Central Florida Invite, which will be played at various locations in Florida.

WSC’s first game will be in Auburndale, where they will play a two-game series against Ohio Dominican on March 6 and 7. The ‘Cats will also play games in Winter Haven and Daytona before returning to Wayne.