Wildcat baseball beats Wolves, comes up short against SMSU

Nate Bope, Staff Writer

The Wayne State College baseball team played a total of five games over the past week.  

After opening Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play by getting swept in a three-game series by the Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles, the Wildcats executed a series sweep of their own against the Northern State Wolves in a Wednesday, March 22 double-header.  

The Wildcats then got swept again, this time a three-game series Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25 by the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs. The results from this past week of action move the Wildcats to 8-14 on the season with a 2-6 record in conference play. 

WSC entered the competition on Wednesday searching for that first win in conference play. In the first game of the doubleheader against the Wolves, it was a pitcher’s duel between Jackson Shelbourne of WSC and Michael Chevalier. Both pitchers had clean sheets heading into the sixth inning.  

In the bottom of the sixth, with the bases loaded, WSC first baseman Hunter Babe hit a two-run single to right center field, scoring Cade Lynam and Carter Thomas. The Wolves scored one in the top of the seventh, courtesy of a pinch-hit solo homerun from Mitchell Tolk, but the Wildcats prevailed in seven innings, 2-1. Shelbourne gets the credit for the win while Braden Cannon picks up his third save on the season 

Game two featured more offense than the last iteration. The first inning saw WSC build an early 3-0 lead from three different players with RBI hits, those being a Thomas single, Quinn McCafferty double, and Babe double. Northern State responded with three runs of their own to tie the game. Each side plated a run in the fourth, leading us to a 4-4 tie.  

Heading to the bottom of the sixth, picking up with a runner at second and Trey Wells at the plate, Wells hit a crushing two-run bomb to left field, giving the Wildcats a 6-4 lead. Nate Cunningham added an insurance run off a throwing error from the Wolves’ third baseman, scoring Nick Ripa on the play.  

The Wolves added a run in the seventh and a run in the ninth but saw their comeback effort fall short as the Wildcats held on for the 7-6 win, with Brody Sintek earning the win. Babe was the star of this series, going a combined 6-for-7 with 3 RBI’s. 

The Wildcats, riding a two-game win streak, headed into the weekend ready to face the SMSU Mustangs. Friday’s doubleheader action kicked off with the Mustangs scoring two runs in the first inning of game number one.  

The Wildcats got one back in the second, cutting the deficit in half. The fourth inning saw the Mustangs use a two-out rally to score three runs, extending their lead. The Wildcats got another run back yet again in the fifth off a Nick Barnett RBI single.  

Entering the seventh, WSC found themselves in a 5-2 hole. The Wildcats earned one back off a throwing error by the Mustangs, but that is all that was going on in the seventh, as the Mustangs took the 5-3 win, overcoming five total errors. 

Game number two had the Mustangs scoring one run in the first inning, two runs in the second inning, and five runs in the third inning. The Wildcats plated a run in the second courtesy of a Colin Lynam double. Down 8-1 after three, the Wildcats scored two in the fourth off singles from McCafferty and Jack Jones. The Mustangs earned those two runs back after a two-run homerun from Jaxon Haase in the seventh, leading to the final score of 10-3. This game saw the Wildcats commit a season high six errors. 

The series finale against the Mustangs was another pitching duel. Wildcat pitcher Nathan Anderson pitched 6 1/3 innings while striking out nine batters and not allowing a single run. Mustang pitcher Kolby Kiser allowed one run in the third off a team effort from WSC. Cannon singled to start the inning. He moved to second off a Cade Lynam sacrifice bunt, moved to third on a Chase Douglas single, and eventually scored after a ground out by McCafferty. 

In the top of the eighth inning, with two outs, the Wildcats loaded the bases after Colin Lynam was hit by a pitch, Barnett singled to right, and Thomas walked. That brought Wells up to the plate, who grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. This proved to be costly, as the Mustangs went on a four-run rally in the bottom of the eighth off two singles and a fielder’s choice. The Wildcats mustered nothing in the ninth, leading SMSU to a 4-1 victory and series sweep. 

The Wildcats are scheduled to play the University of Mary Marauders in a two-game doubleheader series on Thursday, March 29th to conclude the schedule for March. A specific time and place are currently to be announced due to inclement weather in Bismarck, North Dakota, the original site for the games.