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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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Wildcat baseball takes three of four from Golden Eagles

Wildcat baseball continued their hot start to the season, winning three games during a four-game series against the Minnesota-Crookston Golden Eagles from Wednesday, Feb. 21 to Friday, Feb. 23. 

WSC, who entered the series with a 4-0 record, started game one on Wednesday with hot bats, as sophomore third baseman Braden Cannon hit a two-run homerun in the second inning, followed by Quinn McCafferty being walked with the bases loaded, sending Max Heard to home plate. The Golden Eagles fought back, as Crookston scored two runs in the fourth inning as well as two more in the fifth. The Wildcats responded in kind with six runs in the sixth, starting with Kaden Young being batted in after a base single by Carter Thomas. McCafferty then hit a double, picking up two more RBIs as Heard and Thomas crossed the plate. Colin Lynam hit a two-run homer in the very next at-bat, extending the Wildcat lead to 9-4. In the eighth inning, McCafferty got his fourth RBI of the game after another single allowed Chase Douglas to score. The Wildcats took game one in 10-4 fashion, finishing with 10 hits, one error, and seven strikeouts from the pitching rotation. 

A double-header was played on Thursday, with Crookston taking the first game 2-0. Both runs came off singles, one in the fourth and the other in the sixth inning. The Wildcats had three hits in the defensive battle and played a clean game with no errors. Pitchers Jackson Shelbourne, Jacob Kneifl and Kadyn Van Hill combined for 10 strikeouts, with Shelbourne striking out six batters alone in four innings pitched. Kneifl and Van Horn each finished with two strikeouts. 

Game two was a much different story on the Wildcats’ part. Colin Lynam hit an RBI single in the first inning, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead early. The Golden Eagles tied the game up with a run in the fourth and then took the lead with another run in the top of the sixth inning. WSC once again had multiple runs in the bottom of the sixth, as the Wildcat bats popped off for a five-run inning. Douglas hit an RBI single of his own, getting Young home. A Wildcat batter was once again walked with the bases loaded, this time Colin Lynam reaching base-on-balls and Kyler Essink advanced to home. Trey Wells then hit a single, and Douglas reached the plate from third base. Cannon was walked two at-bats later, once again with the bases still loaded, to get Colin Lynam across. The Wildcats ended the sixth inning with a 6-2 lead. More damage was done in the eighth, as Wells hit a two-run homer. The Wildcats scored once more in the ninth off a Young single that brought home McCafferty. WSC won 9-2, with eight hits and one error. Wildcat baserunners stole five bases, lead by Cam Madsen with two. The combination of Nathan Anderson, Josh Kilzer, Van Hill, Alex Calabrese, and Cannon pitched a good game, giving up only one earned run and striking out eight Golden Eagle batters. 

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The series finale took place on Friday, and was an offensive showdown with a dramatic ending. By the sixth inning, the Wildcats found themselves trailing 7-0 to Crookston as the Golden Eagles hit a homerun in the first, third, fourth, and sixth innings. The Wildcats finally got on the board after a Wells single brought Douglas in to score. Tommy Roland batted in Colin Lynam, followed by Young hitting a bases-clearing triple, cutting the Crookston lead from seven to three. Wells picked up another RBI in the seventh, again batting in Douglas. Colin Lynam crossed home plate after Crookston once again walked a Wildcat with loaded bases, allowing Cannon to reach first base after four straight balls. Wells reached home after Young hit a single, but McCafferty was be thrown out at home while trying to score off the same hit. 

With the game tied at seven apiece in the top of the ninth inning, Crookston scored off another homerun from their best hitter, and reigning National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Division II Player of the Year, Jake Hjelle. The Wildcats tied the game up again, as Cannon was hit by pitch with the bases loaded once again. Young was patient in the batter’s box, drawing what ended up being a walk-off walk that scored the game-winning run in Colin Lynam.  

The Wildcats ended the game with 14 hits, no errors, and two stolen bases from Douglas. On the pitching side, the starter Kolt Davis gave up four earned runs but did have three strikeouts in three inning s pitched. Brody Sintek, Dylan Rodgers, and Braden Sweet would pitch an inning of relief each, and Eli Crnkovich would close out the final three innings, combining for six more strikeouts on the day. 

The fourth game won the series for the Wildcats, who improved to 7-1 on the young season. They will be back in action for a non-conference four-game series with Missouri S&T from Friday, Mar. 1 to Sunday, Mar. 3 before hitting the road to compete in the Matt Russ Invitational in Florida from Wednesday, Mar. 6 to Sunday, Mar. 10. 

All information was pulled from the WSC athletics website as well as the Minnesota-Crookston athletics website. 

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Quinlan Otto, Sports Writer

Quinlan Otto is a senior from Osceola, NE. He is majoring in Sports Media/Journalism and minoring in Digital Film. He is a member of the campus radio station, KWSC 91.9 The Cat and helps work on student films  on top of writing for the Wayne Stater.

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