WSC Baseball falls to Augustana, staves off elimination against Minnesota Crookston in NSIC Tournament

WSC Baseball falls to Augustana, staves off elimination against Minnesota Crookston in NSIC Tournament
May 9th, 2024 |

Wayne, Neb. — Wayne State left 17 runners stranded on base in a 12-5 loss to #9 Augustana late Thursday afternoon in the NSIC Baseball Tournament winner’s bracket semi-final played in Bismarck, North Dakota at Municipal Park.  The Wildcats drop to 27-22 and face an elimination game Thursday evening against Minnesota Crookston while the top-seeded Vikings improve to 43-8 with the win.

The ‘Cats opened the scoring in the top of the first when Quinn McCafferty reached on an Augustana error and scored on a bases loaded walk to Kaden Young for a 1-0 lead

After Augustana scored twice in the bottom of the first and another in the second for a 3-1 lead, Wayne State came back with a pair of runs in the third to even the score at 3-3.  Colin Lynam opened the inning with a double down the left field line and scored on a Kyler Essink groundout.  Later in the inning, sophomore third baseman Nate Cunningham had an infield single to shortstop that brought home Trey Wells, who singled, to knot the score at 3-3.

But Augustana took control of the game in the fourth and fifth innings with a combined eight runs to take an 11-3 lead.  The Vikings plated five runs on just three hits in the fourth, taking advantage of a walk and hit batter, to take the lead for good at 8-3.  Three more runs for Augustana in the fifth inning on three hits put the Vikings in front 11-3.

Augustana scored their final run of the game in the seventh for a 12-3 lead while WSC scored single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to close the scoring.

In the eighth, McCafferty singled to center field and came home when Essink reached on an error.  McCafferty’s RBI single in the ninth drove home Cam Madsen, who singled earlier.

Wayne State left at least one runner on base in every inning, including the bases loaded in the first and ninth innings while leaving two runners on base in four other innings.

Augustana held a 15-12 edge in hits over the Wildcats.  Colin Lynam was 2 for 4 with a double, Wayne State’s only extra base hit in the game, along with one run scored.  Wells went 2 for 3 with a pair of singles and one run scored.  Madsen and Chase Douglas each went 2 for 4 while McCafferty finished with two singles and two runs scored.

Starting pitcher Jackson Shelburne (2-5) was tagged with the pitching loss, allowing six runs on five hits in three innings with four strikeouts.  Jacob Kneifl, Eli Crnkovich and Alex Calabrese each worked in relief.

Wayne, Neb. — Junior righthander Josh Kilzer fired 4 2/3 innings of hitless relief and sophomore closer Braden Cannon notched his NSIC-leading seventh save of the season to lead Wayne State in a 4-3 victory Thursday evening over Minnesota Crookston in an elimination game at the 2024 NSIC Baseball Tournament in Bismarck, North Dakota.  The Wildcats improve to 28-22 on the year and face Concordia-St. Paul (29-21) at 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon in an elimination game while UMC ends the year at 35-16.

Minnesota Crookston took the early 1-0 lead with a run in the first inning.

WSC answered with a solo run in the top of the second knotting the score at 1-1 as senior designated hitter Kyler Essink singled and crossed home plate on a double to right center field by sophomore third baseman Nate Cunningham.

The Golden Eagles regained the lead at 2-1 in the bottom of the second with one run, but WSC came up with two runs in the fourth inning to grab a 3-2 advantage.

Trey Wells opened the inning reaching base on a Golden Eagle throwing error and later scored on a wild pitch for the first run of the inning.  Essink doubled and later scored on a double to right center field by Cam Madsen for the second run.

WSC increased the lead to 4-2 in the fifth inning when shortstop Quinn McCafferty singled to open the inning and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Wells.

The Wildcats were able to rally in the middle innings thanks to the relief pitching of junior righthander Josh Kilzer, who fired 4 2/3 innings of hitless relief after replacing starter Nathan Anderson in the bottom of the third.

Sophomore closer Braden Cannon came on in the bottom of the eighth and gave up one run to the Golden Eagles on one hit along with a walk and hit batter, leaving runners at second and third inning before getting a strikeout to end the inning.

Cannon had to face the heart of the UMC order in the ninth battling the two, three and four batters.  But the righthander got a ground out and two strikeouts to end the game recording his NSIC-leading seventh save of the season in preserving Wayne State’s 4-3 win.

Wayne State out-hit Minnesota Crookston in the contest 9-5 with four of the Wildcat hits doubles.  Essink finished 2 for 4 with a double and two runs scored.  McCafferty went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles and run scored.  Colin Lynam, Nate Cunningham and Cam Madsen each doubled.

Kilzer fired 4 2/3 innings of hitless relief to earn the win, now 4-1 on the season.  The junior righthander fanned six batters with three walks and two hit batters.  Starter Nathan Anderson worked the first 2 1/3 innings and gave up four hits and two runs while Cannon came on to work the final two innings to notch his NSIC-best seventh save of the season, allowing one run on one hit with four strikeouts.


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