Kansas Wesleyan Baseball faced the NAIA's top-ranked team in the Southeastern Fire for the second time in as many dates on Thursday morning as the teams met in the championship game of the Fayette Bracket of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round at Estes Field.
The Fire would come away with an 11-3 win in the game to advance to the AVISTA NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.
Wesleyan ends its record-breaking season at 44-15 overall. The Coyotes set several new school records this season, including single season wins, single season KCAC wins, and homeruns.
It was the third time in five NAIA Opening Round appearances that the Coyotes have reached the championship game. The Coyotes reached the championship in 2009 and in 2011. The NAIA moved to the direct qualification model, introducing the Opening Round format in 2009.
The Coyotes got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning as William Dryburgh (SR/St. Joseph, Mo.) was hit by a pitch and Kendall Foster (SR/Prosper, Texs) walked, followed by Haydn Brown (SR/Gardnerville, Nev.)'s double to center scoring Dryburgh and putting the Coyotes up 1-0.
Southeastern took the lead with single runs in the top of the second and third innings, and after scoreless frames in the fourth and fifth, the Fire scored three times in the sixth and seventh innings to take an 11-2 lead.
The Coyotes tried to rally in the eighth inning, as Foster belted his team-leading and school-record 24th homer of the season, followed by Dustin Sipe (SR/Aztec, N.M.) hitting his 18th of the season.
Southeastern (55-4) scored three in the top of the ninth inning to make it 11-3.
Kevin Esquilin-Cruz (SR/Trujilo Alto, Puerto Rico) walked in the bottom of the ninth and made it to third base, but could not score.
Foster had two of KWU's five hits in the game.
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