Rallies fall short in home loss

Potent WSC offense is too little, too late against Kearney


Photo by Tess Riecke

Curtis Bussard swings at a pitch against Nebraska-Kearney last Wednesday at the Pete Chapman Baseball Complex in Wayne. Bussard went 1-6 with two runs scored in WSC’s 12-10 loss to the Lopers.

Mason Schwiezer, Staff Writer

Two late-inning rallies got the Wayne State baseball team back in contention against Nebraska-Kearney, but the ‘Cats needed a third, falling 12-10 last Wednesday at the Pete Chapman Baseball Complex in Wayne.

With the loss, WSC is now 3-12 on the season.

Kearney scored early and often, plating runs in eight different innings, and got off to a quick 3-0 lead after their first two at-bats before the ‘Cats countered with an Albert Johnson homer in the bottom of the second.

Freshman Mitch Ragan was tagged again in the third, when he was replaced. He tossed 2 2/3 innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits.

Though his performance was not ideal, coach Alex Koch has no worries about his talented freshman.

“Mitch had his roughest outing of the year last week, but you will have that now and again with freshman,” Koch said. “He has way too much talent to throw like that though. I know he will give us a lot more good outings than ones like that.”

After reliever Tanner Ledezma got the ‘Cats out of a bases loaded jam to end the third, WSC got one back again, this time via a Cody Jenkins RBI double.

Jenkins had three hits in total on the day, bumping up his team-leading batting average to .383.

“Jenks has been great for us,” Koch said. “We knew he would be a middle-of-the-order guy and have success for us this year.”

Heading to the bottom of the sixth, the ‘Cats trailed 7-3, but four unearned runs squared things back up, thanks in large part to Nate Ackerman’s two-run triple and sloppy Kearney defense, who had four errors on the day.

Kearney went back ahead in their half of the seventh by a score of 10-7. But WSC’s bats kept it rolling and tied it back up. Curtis Bussard and Jenkins had run-scoring singles and cleanup hitter Bodie Cooper tied things up with a sacrifice fly that scored Tanner Simons.

The ‘Cats allowed single runs in the last two frames–one on a passed ball in the eighth and the other on a wild pitch in the ninth. They were unable to muster up one last rally to keep up and dropping their seventh game by one or two runs.

Though it was a tough loss to take, an in-state rival winning off a passed ball and wild pitch, Koch pointed out that his lineup continues to succeed. Eight of the nine batters in the starting lineup had a hit for the ‘Cats, who totaled a whopping 16 as a team.

“We continue to hit well, and now we have guys coming up in key situations and driving runners in,” Koch said. “That’s good to see.”

The ‘Cats will have the toughest possible start to the conference season, hosting second-ranked St. Cloud State for a four-game tilt, with doubleheaders scheduled for noon start times on Friday and Saturday at home.

“St. Cloud is the best team in our conference, and we will have to be at our very best in every aspect to beat them,” Koch said, noting that the sometimes-shaky pitching and defense will be crucial in beating the undefeated Huskies.


Score by Innings                                        R H E
Nebraska-Kearney…. 1 2 2 0 1 1 3 1 1 – 12 13 4
Wayne State (Neb.).. 0 1 1 0 1 4 3 0 0 – 10 16 1
Wayne State- 11: (2B) Messinger,C.; Honeycutt,K.; Katechis,P.; Estrada, Josh 2; Jenkins, C.; Fowler, B.. (3B) Ackerman, N.. (HR) Richardson, J; Honeycutt, K.; Johnson, A..