MOUNT PLEASANT – Nelcicio York (Jr.-St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles) singled with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Iowa Wesleyan College an important 5-4 win over Viterbo (Wis.) University in the first game of a Midwest Collegiate Conference doubleheader Saturday night.
The Tigers pulled out an extra inning win in the game scheduled for seven innings to pull one-half game ahead of the V-Hawks and into third in the MCC standings. IWC improved to 12-9 in the MCC (27-20 overall) while the V-Hawks are now 11-9-1 in conference (27-16-1 overall).
It also will likely be IWC’s last win of the regular season, as the rest of the three-game series against Viterbo was interrupted by the rain. The Tigers led the V-Hawks 3-0 in the third inning of the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday when lightning led to the suspension of the game and heavy rains eventually forced the postponement of the game. MCC rules state that conference games that are not official (five or more innings) cannot be suspended and resumed later, meaning the second game of Saturday night’s doubleheader is considered a rainout and would have to be replayed in its entirety.
The two teams were also originally scheduled to play a nine-inning game on Sunday, but the driving rains Saturday night left field conditions unplayable on Sunday. And with Iowa Wesleyan College in the midst of final exams and just three days before the start of the MCC Tournament, the chances of getting to play another conference game is remote at best. There are no plans to try to make up the final two games of the series.
The rainouts could cost the Tigers dearly in MCC Tournament seeding and leaves Wesleyan watching other conference results to find out their tourney seeding. Viterbo is scheduled to finish a suspended doubleheader against Waldorf College on Monday, a game tied at 6-6 in extra innings, with another game against Waldorf to follow after that. Wins in both games would put the V-Hawks percentage points ahead of IWC because Viterbo will have played and won one more game in conference than the Tigers.
Seeding in the MCC Tournament will be especially important because the top three teams in the conference receive a bye into the double-elimination portion of the conference tournament, while teams finishing fourth through seventh will contest a single-elimination play-in just to get into the double-elimination bracket. IWC is currently in third with Viterbo behind in fourth
Saturday’s game that was completed had all the markings of two teams competing hard for coveted position in the conference postseason tournament. Both teams rallied from deficits during the game and also had several chances to take the lead in the late innings.
IWC led 3-0 after York hit a two-run double in the fourth inning and appeared to be in control as starting pitcher Jorge Martinez (Jr.-Tucson, Ariz.), making his first start in a month, shut out the V-Hawks through four innings. Viterbo rallied in the fifth, though, scoring four runs and chasing Martinez from the game in taking a 4-3 lead.
The Tigers tied it back up in the bottom of the sixth when Jared Zueck (Jr.-Williamsville, Ill.) led off the inning with a solo home run to left-center. Later in the inning IWC loaded the bases before Kyle Pronschinske induced Diego Marquez (Jr.-Los Mochis Sinoloa, Mexico) into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Viterbo had a chance to take the lead in the seventh, putting runners at first and second with nobody out. Hector Acevedo (Sr.-Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) recorded a pair of strikeouts, though, sandwiched around Marquez throwing out Andrew Stoffel trying to steal third base.
The game went into extra innings and Wesleyan had a golden opportunity in the eighth, loading the bases with nobody out. Pronschinske was able to get a big play again, though, this time getting Jay Olson (Fr.-Agency, Iowa) to ground back into the pitcher and into a 1-2-3 double play and eventually getting out of the inning.
The Tigers put the heat on again in the ninth, though, and finally broke through. Edwin Jimenez (Sr.-Lawrenceville, Ga.) had a big game with three hits, three runs scored and two stolen bases, including a one-out single and steal of second in the ninth. Devin Smith (Sr.-Lynwood, Ill.) was walked and Zueck hit a pop up to left that dropped between three Viterbo players. York followed and hit the ball through past shortstop to score Jimenez with the winning run.
Acevedo threw 4 2/3 innings and struck out eight to pick up his ninth win of the season. Nick Lenzendorf picked up the loss for Viterbo. Both teams finished with 12 hits but the V-Hawks committed three errors, including two in the eighth inning. Eli Tupuola led the visitors with three hits, while Bobby Raasch added two hits and two RBIs.
IWC now gets ready for the MCC Tournament at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo, which begins with the single elimination play-in starting Thursday. The winner of the conference tournament receives an automatic berth in the NAIA National Tournament.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score IWC 5 Viterbo 4 (9 innings)