MARION, Ind. -- Michael Caley and Bryan Beachy pitched extremely well for Indiana Wesleyan University baseball Saturday afternoon in a doubleheader split with Marian (Ind.) University at Wildcat Field.
Marian (5-16, 3-3 MCC) won the opening game by a 5-3 margin in 10 innings. IWU earned the split in an 8-1 pasting of Marian in the nightcap in the Mid-Central College Conference showdown.
"Michael Caley and Bryan Beach threw awesome today," said Indiana Wesleyan head coach Chad Newhard. "And our relief pitchers got us out of some tough jams. Shane Bryant and Chris Tyler got us out of a couple of tough spots in the first game."
Over 17 innings of baseball on Saturday the Wildcat pitching staff allowed just six earned runs. During the doubleheader the pitching staff surrendered only four free passes.
"Michael Caley gave us a chance in the first game as he threw really well again," added Newhard. "It was unfortunate we didn't close it out."
IWU led 1-0 into the sixth inning in the opener. But a Bret Metcalf home run for Marian to lead off the inning tied the score 1-1. After retiring the next two batters, Marian rallied with two outs. With two on, Ben Walters singled through the hole at short to give Marian its first lead of the day at 2-1.
The Knights added another run in the seventh to take a 3-1 lead. Shane Bryant entered the game in relief for IWU with no outs and men on the corner. He allowed the runner on third to score but shut down the Knights the rest of the inning.
Indiana Wesleyan had runners on the corner with one out in the seventh when catcher Alex Ridlen singled to the opposite field to score Preston Fugita and send the Quinn Nofziger, the potential game-tying run, to third base. Rightfielder Craig Dollens followed and launched a deep fly ball to right field that was caught but allowed Nofziger to trot home and send the game into extra innings.
Marian untied the game after loading the bases in the 10th inning with nobody out. Christ Tyler was able to escape with just two runs and give the Wildcats one last chance in the home half of the 10th. With two outs and two runners in scoring position on for the Wildcats, shortstop Josh Ellis appeared to tie the game with a hot shot down the third base line that would have scored two, but the ball was called just foul. Ellis would then pop out to end the game.
"We had some opportunities and we just didn't cash them in," said Newhard on the loss. "We had a couple chances to close that game and we didn't but we did have tremendous resolve coming back to tie that game up. Credit them, they made some nice plays in that first game and they got the clutch hits and we didn't and that's the game right there."
The second game was all Indiana Wesleyan. IWU scored four in the second and then added three more in the third to lead 7-0 after three innings of play. That was more than enough for freshman starting pitcher Bryan Beachy.
"Bryan Beachy was outstanding," said Newhard. "He had them off balanced throwing three pitches for strikes. He competed very well and was really locating all of his pitches. He just did an outstanding job. He set the tone for us that second game. After seeing him go out there the first few innings and we got him some runs I knew we'd have a chance to win that game. He was dialed in from the get go. He walked one guy and was just all over the strike zone."
Beachy improves to 2-2 on the season with the complete game win. He scattered eight hits and one walk over 7.0 innings.
Five Wildcats contributed two hits in the game as IWU totaled 13 overall. First baseman Peter Engle was 2-for-3 with two runs. Centerfield CJ Sandmann and DH Seth White each finished 2-for-2 with two runs while Josh Ellis and Preston Fugita added 2-for-3 performances with a run and RBI each. Leftfielder Quinn Nofziger was 1-for-3 with three RBI while second baseman Jacob Murphy added two RBI.
Saturday was the third straight day of MCC doubleheaders that Indiana Wesleyan split to now stand 3-3 on the conference season and 11-14 overall.
"All day we played pretty well defensively," said Newhard. "We're playing better baseball and I like where we are at right now. I'd like to have a better record but we've been in every game we played. You play 36 (conference) games and if you're in everyone you are going to be at the top end of the conference."
Indiana Wesleyan and Marian renew acquaintances on Tuesday in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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