Split with Sioux Falls ends Wildcats’ losing streak


Photo by Tess Riecke

Brandon Fowler turns a double play against Augustana last Friday. Augustana took the sweep for the four-game series against the Wildcats.

Mason Schweizer, Staff Writer

Another impressive weekend at the plate was not enough to cancel out another disastrous weekend in the field, as the Wayne State baseball team was swept in a four-game set with Augustana at the Pete Chapman Baseball Complex in Wayne.
WSC was able to bounce back quickly, splitting a Tuesday doubleheader with Sioux Falls that also took place at home.
The ‘Cats are now 9-24 overall and 6-12 in the NSIC.
Friday’s first game was a 23-10 Viking victory–a rare game where the ‘Cats put up double-digit runs but also lost by double-digit runs.
After WSC got out to a 2-0 lead after the first thanks to a two-run Albert Johnson double, Augustana exploded for a dozen runs in innings two through four, with half of them being unearned.
Bodie Cooper’s fourth-inning grand slam and a pair of fifth-inning dingers from Nate Ackerman and Nick McIntee closed the gap for the ‘Cats to 12-10, but Augustana exploded again.
The Vikings paraded around the bases to a tune of 10 runs in the sixth, and plated another in the seventh to secure the 13-run whooping.
Tanner Ledezma was tagged with the loss for WSC. He allowed eight runs in two innings, although just two of the runs were earned in a game that featured five Wayne errors.
WSC got out to an early lead again in the nightcap Friday after a second inning sacrifice fly from Ackerman, but that was the lone run the ‘Cats scored, as they went on to drop the game 11-1.
Defense was an issue again, as WSC’s defense made three errors, although those errors were only responsible for two of the Augustana runs.
Freshman Mitch Ragan pitched into the sixth, throwing 5 2/3 innings, but allowed seven earned runs on 13 hits, giving him the loss.
Saturday proved to be just as disastrous for the WSC defense, as the team’s six errors in the matinee doubled the amount of runs they scored in a 19-3 defeat.
The game was over shortly after it started. Augustana scored eight runs in the second, and three more each in the third and fourth, and nine of the 14 early runs were unearned.
Matthew White tossed 3 2/3 innings, and allowed 14 runs on 13 hits. However, just three of those runs were earned, and the rest attributed to the defensive woes the ‘Cats had.
Johnson homered in the sixth and drew a bases-loaded RBI walk in the seventh to lead WSC offensively.
The series finale was the only close game of the weekend, with the ‘Cats falling 13-10.
Augustana plated five runs in the first off of starter Spencer Morris, who took the loss and was finished after that one inning.
The ‘Cats got back in the game, cutting the deficit to 5-3 after the third, and then 7-6 after the sixth, but the Vikings bats kept answering WSC’s challenges, outscoring the ‘Cats 6-4 in the last four frames.
Curtis Bussard hit a solo shot in the third and a two-run homer in the fifth for the ‘Cats. Cooper and Chris May also went yard in the game.
Tuesday, the ‘Cats hosted Sioux Falls for a doubleheader. The games were moved up from Wednesday due to forecasted heavy rains.
WSC dropped the first game 5-1, with Johnson’s RBI single standing as the lone WSC run.
Tanner Ledezma pitched well, lasting 5 2/3 innings, surrendering five runs on six hits, though just three of the runs were earned, as the Cougars tacked on two sixth-inning runs via a ‘Cats throwing error.
The ‘Cats broke their losing streak Tuesday afternoon, relying on a seven-run fifth inning to topple the Cougars 12-5.
WSC’s seven-run inning was peculiar in that no batter had a hit greater than a single in the inning. Rather than reliance on their power, the ‘Cats manufactured run after run, and scored a couple due to shotty Sioux Falls defense.
Teague McFadden turned in his best start of the year to earn the win, allowing two earned runs on eight hits in seven innings, without walking a batter.
The ‘Cats will return to action this weekend, hosting doubleheaders scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. Saturday and Sunday against Southwest Minnesota State.