Hutchinson, Kan. – It took over four hours, but The Tabor College baseball team outlasted Kansas Wesleyan University by the score of 19-14, to advance to the championship game of the KCAC baseball tournament.
The second-seeded Bluejays will take on top-seeded Sterling College Friday afternoon. Tabor needs to win two games over the Warriors to claim the 2012 tournament title. Game one is set for 3 p.m., with game two to follow, if needed, from Hobart-Detter Stadium in Hutchinson, Kan.
Senior Matt Cardona led the Bluejays offensive explosion, with a game-high four RBIs and two runs scored, as he went 3-6 at the plate. Cordona's homerun in the top of the first also helped catapult the Bluejays to a six-run inning to start the game.
Junior Tyler Kozlowski also had a big game offensively as he went 3-4 at the plate with an RBI and four runs scored, while senior Matt Weger and junior Koby Temple each went 3-5 at the plate. Weger also scored three runs and added two RBIs, while Temple added two RBIs and a run scored. Tabor senior Adam McCormick chipped in with three RBIs while senior Spencer Putman went 3-5 at the plate with two RBIs in the game.
The Bluejays and the Coyotes combined for 25 runs, 18 hits, and eight errors, as 11 pitchers took the mound in the game. Junior Anthony Mendoza got the start and lasted four and two thirds innings allowing seven earned runs on eight hits while striking out seven. Senior Nicholas Reif came on in relief to pitch an inning and a third, before junior Matt Lambert came in to seal the game and pick up the win for Tabor. Lambert pitched a perfect final three innings of play for the Bluejays allowing just one walk while striking out two. The Bluejays hitters blasted Kansas Wesleyan for 18 hits on the night as the Coyotes went through eight pitchers in the game.
Tabor, who moved ahead early, took a 9-3 lead into the bottom of the fourth before the Coyotes rallied to score four runs in the inning to cutting the Bluejays lead down to two at 9-7. After a scoreless top of the fifth by Tabor the Coyotes pushed two more runs across in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game up at nine all.
After seeing its big advantage erased, Tabor responded with a three-run, top of the sixth inning to reclaim the lead at 12-9. It would only last an inning as Kansas Wesleyan used a five-run, bottom of the seventh inning to take a two-run advantage at 14-12.
With the loser of the game being eliminated from the tournament the Bluejays had one final answer left in them. Tabor would score four times in the top of the eighth to retake the lead at 16-14, before adding three more runs in the top of the ninth to run away with the victory.