MOUNT PLEASANT – Jared Zueck (Sr.-Williamsville, Ill.) had nine RBIs, including a huge grand slam in the second game, and Iowa Wesleyan College made the most of a long day and put itself in excellent position in the Midwest Collegiate Conference baseball race by sweeping a tripleheader from Ashford University at the Mapleleaf Athletic Complex.
The Tigers defeated the Saints by scores of 6-0, 7-5 and 12-7, completing a sweep of a rare tripleheader and in an important conference series. Wesleyan also won on Senior Day for 11 seniors on the team and improved to 25-21 overall on the season, 14-7 in league play.
IWC is now in shape to clinch a top-three finish in the conference and automatic advancement into the double-elimination portion of next week’s MCC Tournament if it can win one of three games this weekend in a series against Waldorf College. The Tigers also are still in play for a possible regular season championship, trailing Viterbo (Wis.) University and Grand View University by one game for first place with three games remaining for all teams and Viterbo and Grand View facing each other in a series this weekend.
Wesleyan was the more opportunistic team throughout the tripleheader, winning despite being outhit by the Saints in all three games. The Tigers scored a combined 25 runs on 21 hits on the day while stranding 16 runners, far superior to Ashford in all three categories. The visiting Saints compiled 29 hits but scored just 12 runs and stranded a total of 30 runners in the tripleheader.
The Tigers had just five hits in the opener but Dick Bargewell (Sr.-Burlington, Wash.) carried the offense with a pair of big hits as part of IWC’s scoring in each of the first four innings. Bargewell hit a two-run homer in the second inning to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead, and then added a two-out, two-run single in the fourth to make it 6-0.
That was plenty for Jansel Encarnacion (Jr.-Azua, Dominican Republic), who went the distance and threw his second shutout this year. Encarnacion tossed an eight-hitter and struck out nine, walking just two and stranding nine runners for his fifth win this year.
Iowa Wesleyan trailed for a good portion of both the second and third games before coming through with key hits late in both. The Tigers went down 4-1 in the second game and still trailed 4-3 in the sixth before loading the bases with nobody out. One batter later, Zueck came up to the plate and on the first pitch from Brandon Myer hit a grand slam to left-center to turn the game around.
IWC again found itself down early in the third game, trailing 7-2 in the third inning before scoring ten runs over the next four innings. Zueck hit a two-run single to give the Tigers a 9-7 lead in the fifth, and Edder Morales (Sr.-Barquisimeto, Venezuela) and Lino Sampson (So.-Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) hit back-to-back homers in the sixth to extend the lead.
The Tigers also got a big pitching performance in relief out of Michael Reed (So.-Lovington, Ill.), who tossed four innings in relief in the third game and allowed three hits and no runs while striking out two. Reed also finished the second game of the doubleheader for his first collegiate save.
Five different players led Wesleyan with three hits apiece in the tripleheader. Austin Poindexter led Ashford with six hits over three games. The Saints dropped to 14-31 overall this season, 4-17 in the MCC, and will miss the seven-team MCC Tournament, which begins next week in Waterloo.
IWC closes the regular season with a three-game series this weekend in Forest City against Waldorf. The series starts with a single nine-inning game Saturday afternoon starting at 3 p.m. and concludes with a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.
For more information regarding the IWC baseball program or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score Game 1 IWC 6 Ashford 0
Box score Game 2 IWC 7 Ashford 5
Box score Game 3 IWC 12 Ashford 7