CMU Baseball One Win Away from NAIA World Series
FAYETTE, MO - Two ninth-inning walkoffs Friday night by Mike Allen and Jesse Zellner spilled into postgame pandemonium from Central Methodist players on Estes Field and left the Eagles one win shy of a trip to the 2013 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.
Seven innings were not enough to decide either game Friday of a Heart of America Athletic Conference baseball doubleheader between Central Methodist (22-10, 18-6 HAAC) and Culver-Stockton (23-22, 12-12 HAAC). The threat of rain delayed first pitch by over four hours but left the Eagles at the end of the night with wins by scores of 2-1 and 4-3, at least a share of the Eastern Division title with Evangel (Mo.) and a chance to win the league outright Saturday for the first time since 1975. Central Methodist is also trying to reach the national postseason in coach Fred Smith's final season at the helm after announcing in March that the 2013 campaign would be his last.
The first game turned into a pitcher's duel between the Eagles' Drew Greiwe and the Wildcats' Cyrus Wimberly. The contest remained scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning when Central Methodist's Daniel Peters' roped a RBI double down the right field line, scoring Kyle Poynter. Culver-Stockton's Brock Kartheiser answered in the sixth with a solo homerun to left to tie the affair before Allen's extra-inning heroics won the game for the Green and Black.
With one out in the ninth, T.J. Singh singled to center before Kyle Poynter reached on a Culver-Stockton fielding error. On a 2-1 count, Allen took a Wimberly fastball to left center field, allowing Neal DeMartin to score from second base for the game-winning run.
Peters led all players in game one at the plate with a 3-for-4 effort and one RBI. DeMartin had two hits.
Greiwe (8-0) went the distance for the win Friday in his longest outing since throwing nine innings in a 6-5 win over No. 23 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) in the 2012 HAAC Tournament. The Macon, Mo., native allowed one earned run on five hits with six strikeouts against the Wildcats and tied Mark Harvey (2001), Mike Caldwell (1994) and Vaughn Loomis (1990) for the most wins in a single season in school history. Greiwe also recorded his seventh complete game of 2013, tying Jeff Dodson who accomplished the feat in 1992.
Wimberly (7-5) took the loss after pitching eight and one-third innings. He allowed two earned runs on eight hits and had six strikeouts against two walks.
Shane Lowe put the Eagles on the board first in game two with a solo shot to left. His fifth homerun came in the bottom of the first but was matched by a solo homer from Culver-Stockton's Andrew Quiles in the top of the third.
A bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Zellner in the bottom of the third inning regained the lead for the Green and Black, and Allen stretched the advantage to two runs one inning later on a RBI single to center.
Rain, which had drenched the Fayette area all week, began to fall in the fifth and the slick field conditions seemed to allow the Wildcats to get back into the game. Danny Carroll picked up a RBI double to left before later tying the game at three on a Brock Kartheiser run-scoring hit to left field.
The Wildcats threatened to take their first lead of the night in the seventh inning with bases loaded and two outs. However, Eagles' relief pitcher Mike Wagner, who started both games at second base, struck out Gene Nanney to calm the storm, setting the stage for Zellner two innings later.
Wagner and Lowe led off the bottom of the ninth with singles through the right side. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Zellner took a Craig Bubnack offering to right field, scoring Wagner from second to end the game.
Lowe finished game two 3-for-4 with one RBI and run scored. Zellner and Allen each had two hits.
Wagner (7-2) earned the win on the mound with three innings of one-hit, scoreless relief to go along with five strikeouts. Rhett Quinlan started the game but got a no decision, pitching six innings and giving up three earned runs on eight hits with four strikeouts.
Bubnack (0-2) dropped the decision after giving up one earned run on five hits in one and two-third innings out of the bullpen. Craig Bastert made the start but recorded a no decision with six and one-third innings of work on the mound, allowing three earned runs on six hits with seven strikeouts against two walks.
Both teams finish the regular season with a doubleheader Saturday on Senior Day at Estes Field. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT with Central Methodist senior players to be honored between games.