WSC baseball survives 15-inning thriller to keep season alive
WAYNE, Neb. -- The Wayne State baseball team kept its season alive Thursday afternoon with a marathon 7-6 15-inning win over Southwest Minnesota State in an elimination game at the Northern Sun Conference Baseball Tournament in Mandan, North Dakota. The Wildcats are now 25-25 on the year while SMSU ends the season at 27-17.
The Mustangs scored single runs in the first and third innings to hold a 2-0 lead over the Wildcats until Wayne State, held to just two hits in the first five innings, erupted offensively in the sixth inning.
Sophomore shortstop Chase Douglas, a Marshall, Minnesota native, led off the frame with a solo homer to get WSC on the scoreboard. Cade Lynam reached on catcher’s interference with Colin Lynam later following with a walk. Hunter Babe then delivered an RBI single to right field bringing home Cade Lynam while Colin Lynam scored on a SMSU fielding error to give the Wildcats a 3-2 lead.
The score stayed 3-2 until the ninth inning when Quinn McCafferty was hit by a pitch and later scored on a double down the left field line by Douglas giving the ‘Cats a 4-2 advantage.
Southwest Minnesota State quickly regained momentum in the bottom of the ninth as the Mustangs used a leadoff double and home run over the left field wall to knot the score at 4-4 and send the game into extra innings.
In extra innings, SMSU had the first scoring chance in the 11th leaving runners at second and third base while WSC followed in the top of the 12th leaving runners at second and third after Noah Strizek singled and Colin Lynam was intentionally walked.
The Mustangs put two runners on again in the 12th (first and second) but ended the inning with a deep fly ball to left field to keep the game tied at 4-4.
Wayne State finally broke through in extra innings in the top of the 15th inning scoring three runs to take a 7-4 lead. Colin Lynam opened with a walk. One out later, McCafferty doubled to left field and an intentional walk to freshman catcher Trey Wells loaded the bases.
Pinch-hitter Tommy Roland drew a bases-loaded walk on a 3-2 pitch to give the ‘Cats a 5-4 lead scoring Lynam. McCafferty touched home plate on a wild pitch making the score 6-4 and an RBI single by Braden Cannon scored Wells giving the ‘Cats what was thought to be a sizeable 7-4 lead.
SMSU did not go down without a fight in the bottom of the 15th making the game interesting. The Mustangs used a walk and single with two outs to put two runners on followed by a two-run double to right field that cut the WSC lead to 7-6. Cannon was brought back in on the mound and with the tying run on second base got a fly ball out to left field to end the game, the Mustang comeback and keep Wayne State’s season alive.
Southwest Minnesota State finished the game with a 15-10 edge in hits over the Wildcats. Douglas led the ‘Cats at the plate going 3 for 7 with a homer, two doubles and two RBI. McCafferty finished 2 for 6 with a double and two runs scored. Hunter Babe was 2 for 7 with a pair of singles while Colin Lynam singled and scored twice.
Sophomore starting pitcher Nathan Anderson had a strong outing, working eight innings and allowing just four runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts. Freshman Braden Cannon then worked five scoreless innings of relief followed by one inning of scoreless relief for sophomore Jackson Shelburne, who was credited with the win and now 4-2 on the season.
Cannon came on for reliever Josh Kilzer in the 15th and retired the final batter for SMSU on a fly ball to left field earning his 10th save of the season. Cannon combined to allow just three hits in 5 1/3 total scoreless innings of relief in the game with two strikeouts.
Wayne State now faces the loser of Minnesota State vs. Minnesota Crookston Thursday evening around 6:30 p.m. in another elimination game at the NSIC Tournament in Mandan/Bismarck, North Dakota.