When it looked like the Bobcat baseball team would gain a split of the four-game series with MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU), the Pioneers pulled it out in game four to win the series 3- 1.
MNU won the double header on Friday 2-1 and 4-2. On Saturday, the Peru State College (PSC) took the first game 5-2 and had a 7-3 lead going into the last half-inning, before the Pioneers rallied to tie it at 7 each. Then, in the bottom of the eighth, MNU scored a run to take an 8-7 win.
With the three wins, MNU remains tied with Avila at the top of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) with 8-2 records. Overall, the Pioneers are 23-7.
Peru State falls to 4-6 in the HAAC and 17-11 overall.
Friday Game One
It was a pitcher’s duel in the first game of the series.
MNU scored a run in the bottom of the third to take an early 1-0 lead. It was not until the sixth inning before PSC knotted it. Jonathan Castillo (Paterson, N.J.) was hit by a pitch and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Croushorn (Omaha). Following a ground out for the second out of the inning, Kyle Fredrickson (Omaha) doubled to left-center driving in Castillo to tie the game at 1-1.
The Pioneers were able to plate a run in the bottom of the seventh for the 2-1 win. Peru State was only able to muster three hits in the first game and committed two errors.
Fredrickson, J.L. Thomason (Holt, Fla.), and Gustavo Arcia (Caracas, Venezuela) each had one hit with Fredrickson getting the lone RBI.
Austin Parker (Brighton, Colo.) pitched a complete game, but was tagged for the loss and is now 1-1. Parker scattered nine hits and gave up two runs – one earned. Parker struck out four Pioneer hitters.
Friday Game Two
While the Bobcats outhit the Pioneers in the nightcap on Friday seven to five, they could not gain the win.
PSC scored one in the top of the second inning to take the first lead of the game. Fredrickson doubled down the left-field line. Mitch Roberts (Wymore) came in to pinch run for Fredrickson and went to third on a bunt by Derek Voigt (Auburn, Wash.). On a ground out by Thomason, Roberts scored, but two outs followed.
MNU came back with two in the bottom of the second to go up 2-1. The Pioneers added one more in the third and another in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead.
In the top of the seventh, the ‘Cats tried to put something together. Brenden Gentry (Sallisaw, Okla.) singled thru the hole at short to get things started. Aubrey Dezarn (Las Vegas, Nev.) came in to pinch and doubled down the left-field line to move James Welty (Omaha) to third. Welty had entered to run for Gentry. Following the first out of the inning, Castillo grounded out, but Welty scored to cut it to 4-2. But, that would be the end of the Bobcat scoring and MNU prevailed.
Page 2 of 3 - Fredrickson led the Bobcat hitters going two for three. Castillo and Thomason were each credited with one RBI.
Will Scott (Defuniak Springs, Fla.) threw a complete game and took the loss. Scott, now 4-3, gave up five hits, four runs – two earned, and struck out four.
Saturday Game One
Both teams scored one in each of the first two innings. For the Bobcats, Castillo homered over the right- field fence on a 0-2 count in the first. Then, in the second inning, Dezarn homered as well on a 1-1 count over the left-field fence.
Two scoreless innings followed before the ‘Cats got back on the board in the fifth inning. Randy Santiesteban (Hialeah, Fla.) singled to left and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Castillo. Following another out, Jeff Eubank (Fort Pierce, Fla.) singled to left and Santiesteban was able to score. That put PSC on top 3-2.
In the sixth, Fredrickson was hit by a pitch and Roberts entered to run for Fredrickson. Voigt put down a sacrifice bunt and Roberts went to second. Following another out, Gentry reached on a walk. Both runners scored as Arcia doubled to deep left-center to make it 5-2 Peru State, which later proved to be the final score.
Peru State scored their five runs on seven hits and committed one error. The Pioneers were held to just five hits by the Bobcat pitchers.
Dezarn went two for three and had one RBI while Arcia had two RBI to lead the hitters.
Timothy Patterson (Valdosta, Ga.) started the game on the mound for the Bobcats and earned the win – his first in a Bobcat uniform. Patterson pitched four innings giving up two hits and two earned runs while striking out one. Lincoln Mansch (Missoula, Mont.) pitched two innings and gave up three hits, but no runs while striking out one batter to earn the save. Danny Borst (Moreno Valley, Calif.) pitched the final inning in relief and gave up no hits and also struck out one Pioneer.
Saturday Game Two
MNU scored two in the bottom of the first to take an early 2-0 lead which stood through the first two innings.
In the top of the third, Castillo led things off with a single to center. Following an out, Castillo stole second base and ended up scoring when Eubank doubled to deep right-center, cutting the lead to 2-1.
The 2-1 lead stood until the bottom of the sixth when the Pioneers added a little insurance making it 3-1 going into what was supposed to be the final inning of the game.
In the top of the seventh, Peru State exploded for six runs to go up 7-3. Castillo was hit by a pitch and went to second when Jonathan Arche (Miami, Fla.) reached on a Pioneer error. Eubank followed with a single bringing home Castillo to cut it to 3-2 and Arche stayed at second. Fredrickson then loaded the bases with a bunt, which was bobbled. Voigt followed with a sacrifice fly to right which tied the game at 3-3 as Arche scored. Jared Esquivel (Peyton, Colo.) then came in to run for Fredrickson with runners on the corners. Following a strikeout, Gio Todaro (Miami, Fla.) reached base with a walk to load them up. Roberts entered to run for Todaro. On the first pitch he saw, Santiesteban hit a grand slam over the left- field fence to clear the bases. Following a ground out, it looked good for PSC going into the last half- inning, or so they thought.
Page 3 of 3 - The Pioneers were able to tie up at 7-7 with four runs forcing extra innings. Peru State was not able to score in their half of the eighth, but MNU did plate one in the bottom of the inning and won 8-7.
Both teams had ten hits in the game that saw the Pioneers commit two errors and PSC one.
Santiesteban went three for three and had four RBI while Eubank was four for five with two RBI to lead Peru State in hitting.
Bryan Duncan (Seattle, Wash.) started the game for PSC and pitched the first two innings. Duncan gave up four hits and two earned runs while striking out three. Dezarn came in and threw four innings and gave up three hits and one run, which was unearned. Dezarn also had three K’s. Borst started the seventh and gave up just one hit, but had three walks, which led to four runs – all earned. Croushorn got the final out of the seventh, but finished as the loser as he gave up the one earned run in the eighth which gave MNU the win. Croushorn is 0-1 on the season.
The Bobcats will play one nine-inning game on Tuesday at Sioux Center, Iowa, against Dordt College. The non-conference game begins at 3 p.m.
Next weekend, the Bobcats will be back in action, as they will sandwich a pair of double headers around Easter Sunday. On Saturday and Monday, Peru State will face the Benedictine College Ravens with the first game both days scheduled to start at 1 p.m.