FOREST CITY – Evan Cunningham (Sr.-Edinburg, Texas) pitched a complete game shutout and Iowa Wesleyan College clinched the Midwest Collegiate Conference regular season baseball title for the first time in school history by sweeping Waldorf College in a doubleheader Sunday afternoon.
IWC defeated the Warriors 5-4 in the first game of the doubleheader before finishing with a 10-0 win in the second game of the twinbill. The Tigers wrapped up the regular season on an eight-game winning streak and, with a little help from Viterbo (Wis.) University, completed a charge from fourth in the conference just a week ago to a tie for the league title and the #1 seed in the upcoming MCC Tournament.
By sweeping Waldorf, Wesleyan finished the conference season at 17-7 in MCC play, tying for the top spot with Grand View University. The Tigers win the tiebreaker over the Vikings, though, based on a three-game sweep of Grand View in the regular season, and win their first regular season title in baseball since joining the conference in 1996.
The Tigers came through the pack in the final week of the regular season to win the title, trailing William Penn University for first place by 2 1/2 games last week. Wesleyan came into the afternoon 1 1/2 games behind GVU, needing to win twice and also hope Grand View lost its Sunday game against Viterbo. IWC took care of business, though, and Viterbo defeated the Vikings 7-4, allowing Wesleyan to tie for the conference title and win the top seed for the conference tourney.
IWC got a battle from the Warriors in both of the first two games of the series before dominating the finale. Wesleyan needed 10 innings to defeat Waldorf by a 12-11 score on Saturday, and the teams opened Sunday with another that went down to the wire.
The Tigers trailed 4-0 after two innings of the opener but finally tied the score when Dick Bargewell (Sr.-Burlington, Wash.) hit a two-run homer in the top of the sixth. IWC then completed the rally, taking its first lead of the game in the top of the seventh. Jared Zueck (Sr.-Williamsville, Ill.) hit a leadoff double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Edder Morales (Sr.-Barquisimeto, Venezuela). Lino Sampson (So.-Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela) then came on in relief of starter Jansel Encarnacion (Jr.-Azua, Dominican Republic) and allowed a walk before retiring the side for the save.
IWC had much smoother sailing in the second game after scoring six times in the third inning to take control. Morales hit a three-run homer and Marco Prieto (Jr.-Toa Baja, Puerto Rico) singled in a run for one of his season-high three hits. Prieto also later added a solo home run in the seventh. That was more than enough run support for Cunningham, who threw his first complete game shutout of the season, allowing four hits while striking out seven and walking one.
Wesleyan finished with 32 hits in the series and improved to 28-21 overall on the season. With the top seed in the MCC Tournament, the Tigers now have a healthy break before beginning tourney play, when they will face the winner of the single elimination portion of the bracket next Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo.
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 12 Waldorf 11 (10 inn.)
Box score Game 2 IWC 5 Waldorf 4
Box score Game 3 IWC 10 Waldorf 0