The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater

The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater

The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater

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Best Overheard of the Week (01/19/2022)

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Wildcats break the Beaver’s dam, WSC sweeps BSU in season-opening series

The Wayne State College Wildcat baseball team got an early jump to the 2024 season with a four-game series sweep against the Bemidji State Beavers in Elkhorn this past weekend. The four-game series was originally scheduled for Mar. 15-17 and was moved to Elkhorn because of projected weather patterns. 

The Wildcats were one of four Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference teams to open their season this past weekend. The Wildcats currently lead the NSIC with a perfect 4-0 record, outscoring the Beavers 47-10 during the series. 

The series opened on Friday, Feb. 9, and it started off with a bang for the Wildcats. The offense struggled to get going, only plating one run through the first three innings, but the Wildcats scored four in the fourth and the offense exploded from there. WSC plated 12 runs on 11 hits and 14 walks. 

Junior left-handed pitcher Corbin Kirk got the season-opening start and did not disappoint. Through five innings of work, Kirk allowed only one hit and three walks while striking out nine batters. Junior Jacob Kneifl and senior Brody Sintek finished the job nicely out of the bullpen, not allowing a single-hit en route to a 12-0 shutout win in the season-opener.  

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Saturday, Feb. 10 saw a doubleheader take place. In game one, the Wildcats again got the upper hand early, scoring four runs in the second inning without recording a hit off a combination of a hit batter, a walk, many stolen bases and a plethora of Beaver errors.  

The next inning saw the Beavers hit a solo homerun to right field to close the gap to three, but the Wildcats plated one run in each of the fourth, fifth, and seventh innings to take home a 7-1 win in the seven-inning contest. 

Junior Jackson Shelbourne started game one of the doubleheader, and in five innings of work held the Beavers to just one run on three hits while striking out six batters.  

Game two of the doubleheader saw another offensive explosion for the Wildcats. The first inning saw Colin Lynam, Trey Wells, and Quin McCafferty pick up RBI’s. The second inning saw Wells and McCafferty pick up more RBI’s, while Kyler Essink batted some in to give the Wildcats an 8-0 lead after two. The sixth and seventh innings saw the Wildcats plate more runs to double their lead at 16-0 with Carter Thomas, Max Heard, Cade Lynam, Dylan Jutze and Nick Ripa recording RBI’s. The game finished with the 16-0 result in seven innings due to the mercy run rule. 

Junior right-hander Nathan Anderson got six innings of work, allowing only one hit while striking out three batters, while Josh Kilzer closed the game with a one-hit seventh inning. 

The series finale on Sunday, Feb. 11 saw the closest game of the series. This time, the Beavers did the honors of opening the scoring off a Jack Munson RBI single. The Wildcats didn’t score until the third inning, where Thomas and Colin Lynam each hit balls into left field to plate a run each for the Wildcats, giving them a 2-0 lead. Wells added two more runs off an RBI single to right field.  

After adding a run in the fourth, the Beavers answered the bell by plating three runs in the third off a bases-clearing double to left field off the bat of Riley Czech. The score after four innings of play was 5-4, with WSC still in front. The Wildcats extended their lead to 10-4 after scoring three in the fifth and two in the sixth. The Beavers answered by scoring a run in the seventh off a Hudson Filippi solo homerun. 

After the Wildcats scored two runs in the top of the eighth, the bottom of the frame sparked a comeback effort for the Beavers, as Filippi homered yet again, this time being a three-run homer to left, and another run got added later in the inning to cut the Wildcat lead to 12-9. The ninth inning saw both teams struggle to get anything going, with Braden Cannon picking up the save for the Wildcats and securing the series sweep for WSC. 

The Wildcats saw many great hitting performances over the season-opening weekend. Thomas, highlighted by his 4-for-5 performances in the series finale, went 8-for-12 in three games played over the series, including three RBI’s and five runs scored. Wells went 6-for-10, playing in all four games, scoring six runs while knocking in six. McCafferty and Colin Lynam also each recorded six RBI’s for the series. Colin Lynam, Cam Madsen and Chase Douglas also recorded a team-high six runs scored, tying Wells.  

The Wildcats as a team went 43-for-132 for a .326 batting average and .936 OPS on the series. WSC also recorded a ton of stolen bases, stealing 28 bags on 29 attempts. 

The pitching staff recorded a 2.81 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP over the four games with 37 strikeouts while only allowing Bemidji to hit .142 as a team. They allowed only 15 hits and 14 walks.  

The Wildcats will take the field again for another four-game series against the Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles from Wednesday, Feb. 21 to Friday, Feb. 23. The series site is yet to be finalized but is currently set for Fort Scott, Kansas.

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Nate Bope, Sports Writer
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