Kansas Wesleyan Baseball played twice on Wednesday in the Fayette Bracket of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round at Estes Field, hosted by Central Methodist University. The Coyotes dropped their first game to No. 1 ranked Southeastern (Fla.) 15-1, before rallying in the nightcap for a 16-7 win over Central Methodist.
The victory over CMU was the second in as many days for the Coyotes, who defeated the Eagles 3-1 on Wednesday.
In the CMU game, Jarrett Gable (SR/Colleyville, Texas) set a new school record, collecting his 82nd RBI of the season on his 3-run homer in the ninth, breaking the previous mark of 81 set in 2016 by Peyton Deiters. He also tied for the team lead for homeruns with Kendall Foster (SR/Prosper, Texs), as the duo currently share the single season homerun record at 23.
The Coyotes dropped the first game of the day to the top-ranked Fire of Southeastern 15-1.
The game featured the two top homerun hitting teams in the NAIA in 2023 and Southeastern would hit five in the game, and KWU would hit one.
The Fire scored twice in the first and second innings, and then broke it open scoring nine in the bottom of the third inning.
The Coyotes got on the board in the fourth inning on Dustin Sipe (SR/Aztec, N.M.)'s homerun, but that was all the Coyote offense could get going in the game.
Southeastern added single runs in the fifth and sixth.
In the second meeting with Central Methodist in the final game of the night, the Eagles got on the board first with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, but from there it was all Coyotes.
It took until the third inning for the Coyotes to get things going. Kevin Esquilin-Cruz (SR/Trujilo Alto, Puerto Rico) led off the inning with a single, and after two outs, William Dryburgh (SR/St. Joseph, Mo.) walked and Kendall Foster followed with a RBI single to get KWU on the board.
After a walk to Sipe, Haydn Brown (SR/Gardnerville, Nev.) doubled down the line in right to bring in two runs and give the Coyotes the lead.
In the fourth, the Coyotes blew it open. Esquilin-Cruz walked to start the inning and scored on Zach Olson (JR/Red Deer, Alberta)'s double. Pinch hitter Cruz Oxford (FR/Peoria, Ariz.) was hit by a pitch and Dryburgh reached on a bunt single to load the bases, and Foster quickly unloaded them, launching a ball far over the trees behind the right field fence to make it 8-2 Coyotes.
CMU got four back in the bottom of the inning, but the Coyotes added one in the fifth on Dryburgh's RBI single, and added four more in the seventh.
Esquilin-Cruz reached on a single to open the inning, then moved to second on an error. After a sacrifice bunt by Diego Solis (SO/El Paso, Texas), Dryburgh was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A wild pitch brought in the first run, and Foster followed with a 2-run double. Two batters later, Brown doubled to bring in Foster.
CMU got one in the bottom of the inning.
In the ninth, the Coyotes scored three more on Gable's homer. Sipe walked and Zack Beatty (JR/Maple Park, Ill.) singled ahead of Gable's homer that disappeared into the night sky beyond the left field fence putting the Coyotes up 16-7.
KWU needed only 13 hits to score 16 runs aided by four CMU errors. Foster had three hits and drove in seven runs. Brown had three hits and drove in three. Dryburgh and Esquilin-Cruz had two hits each.
Ritter Steinmann (SO/Oroville, Calif.) got the win for the Coyotes going three and a third, allowing one run. Starter Tyler Triano (SR/Hollister, Calif.) went three and two-thirds allowing six runs, five earned, with four strikeouts before leaving in the fourth following an injury sustained in the first inning on a collision at home plate on a wild pitch.
KT Gearlds (SR/Ingram, Texas) tossed an inning, and Ryan Sandoval (SR/El Paso, Texas) closed it out in the ninth.
KWU meets Southeastern at 9 a.m. on Thursday at Estes Field in the Opening Round Championship series. KWU will have to beat the Fire twice to earn a berth to the AVISTA NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.
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