MARION, Ind. -- Indiana Wesleyan University baseball lost a doubleheader on Thursday at Wildcat Field to a streaking University of Saint Francis (Ind.) team that has won 9 of its last 11 games.
Saint Francis received a stellar pitching performance in the first game for a 4-0 win and then survived a furious Indiana Wesleyan rally in the second game to escape with an 8-7 win and the doubleheader sweep.
Indiana Wesleyan trailed 8-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth in the second game and had not scored in the first 12 innings of play Thursday against Saint Francis. But Indiana Wesleyan roared back in the sixth with seven runs and had a chance to do more damage.
With one out the next three Wildcats all singled, including an RBI hit by second baseman Jacob Murphy. Centerfielder CJ Sandmann followed with a walk to load the bases and shortstop Josh Ellis produced a 2-run single to left-center. Rightfielder Craig Dollens walked to load the bases and chase Saint Francis starting pitcher Jerrid Rydell.
Catcher Javier Aponte hit a sac fly to cut the deficit in half to 8-4 as IWU now had two outs and two on. First baseman Peter Engle was hit by a pitch to once again load the bases and leftfielder Seth White came through with a single to shallow centerfield to score a pair of runs. Designated hitter Jordan Baker was the 10th man in the inning to bat and he singled to left for an RBI to cut the score to 8-7. A wild pitch had the tying run and go-ahead runs in scoring position but third baseman Preston Fugita grounded out to second to end the seven-run inning.
Quinn Nofziger re-entered in the bottom of the seventh and reached first on a walk and was the tying run with one out. Nofziger would be left stranded at first as Josh Ellis fouled out and Craig Dollens grounded to third to end the game.
Jordan Baker finished 3-of-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored while Seth White was 2-of-4 with two RBI. Ryne Brown (5-4) took the loss as he allowed eight runs (five earned) in five innings of work. Jacob Worrell and Chris Tyler each pitched one scoreless inning of relief.
Indiana Wesleyan and Saint Francis combined for 26 hits in game two without an extra base hit.
Cougar starting pitcher Trevor Pulver was the star of game one. He pitched a complete game, 2-hit shutout in the 4-0 USF victory. Pulver faced the minimum through six innings and he walked three and struck out three in the win.
Despite the stellar performance by Pulver, Indiana Wesleyan threatened in the seventh. Jacob Murphy and Quinn Nofziger both reached to lead off the inning. After an Alex Ridlen strikeout, Craig Dollens drew a walk to bring the tying run to the plate. But Javier Aponte hit an infield popup and Peter Engle grounded out to third to end the game.
Bryan Beachy suffered the loss for Indiana Wesleyan on the mound. He went the distance and allowed four runs on six hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out five.
The two teams will renew acquaintances on Saturday at 1 p.m. The final two games in the series will be played in Fort Wayne, Indiana.