The Washburn Ichabod baseball team (22-10 14-10 MIAA) kicked-off a four game home series against the Central Missouri Mules (20-15 15-9) on Friday, April 11. Central Missouri came into the series two spots ahead of Washburn in the MIAA rankings.
Central Missouri started junior pitcher from Venezula, Carlos D’Armes as Washburn countered by starting sophomore, Dan Gabler. Both pitchers struggled to get out of the first innings, and the second inning started with the score tied 1-1.
The game became a pitcher’s duel and saw productive defense from both teams. The next round of scoring came in the top of the fourth inning as Central Missouri infielder, Bennett Oliver, delivered a two-run homerun to give the Mules a 3-1 lead.
The Ichabod offense continue to struggle against D’Armes as he turned the game over to his bullpen after going five innings giving up five hits and a single unearned run.
Washburn’s offense showed signs of life in the bottom of the sixth. with a pair of steals that left runners on 2nd and 3rd base. Connor Crimmins grounded out to cut the lead to 3-2.
After walking Bennett Oliver, Gabler exited the game after six innings on the mound, giving up seven hits and three runs. Senior Tanner Kilmer entered the game and gave up an RBI single to Mules freshman, John Oliver. The run was charged to Dan Gabler and gave Central Missouri a 4-2 lead.
Washburn answered back in the bottom of the seventh. Following Dan Turpin fly out, the Ichabods began to rally with a one-out single up the middle by Payton Soicher. Tanner Johnson reached on an error to give Washburn runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out, which sophomore Riley Krane capitalized on with a single to right to send Soicher home, making the score 4-3.
After two quick outs in the bottom of the eighth, the Ichabods were still down 4-3 but junior catcher, David Gauntt got the rally started with a double off the head of the Mules outfielders. Tanner Triggs followed with a RBI single to score Gauntt, which tied the game at 4 a piece.
After a quick three outs for both teams in the 9th, the series opener was headed into the extra innings. The 10th inning was saw little action from either side, as only one runner was able to reach base.
The Mules opened up the 11th inning with infielder Dusty Maas earning a walk. After a single by Derek Cornell there was runners on 2nd and 3rd for Bennett Oliver. Oliver, who earlier gave the Central Missouri a 3-1 with a two run shot, delivered in the clutch again with a double that scored Dusty Haas giving the Mules a 5-4 lead, after Gauntt dropped the ball during a home plate collision.
Central Missouri’s closer, Trevor Ezell entered the game in the bottom of the 11th hoping to send his team home victorious. After a pop out by Crimmins the Ichabod were only two outs away from dropping their sixth consecutive game.
Gauntt came to the plate next and with Washburn’s dugout shouting “Just find a way.” Gauntt battled to earn a walk, which was followed by a single by Triggs to give Washburn runners on 1st and 3rd with one out.
Washburn sophomore, Cole Gardner bunted to first base, which allowed Gauntt to score on an error to tie the game 5-5. Already having scored earlier in the game, Soicher was intentionally walked to load the bases for senior Tanner Johnson with one out.
After a couple of pitches, Johnson sent everyone home with a clutch, walk-off grand slam and the Ichabod won the series opener 6-5.
The Mules took the remaining three games of the series, winning 3-1 on Saturday and 5-4 and 7-3 in Sunday’s double-header. After a 15-7 loss at home to Emporia on Tuesday, the Ichabods will travel to Northwest Missouri on Thursday to take on the Bearcats at 1 p.m.
Live stats for Thursday’s game will be posted on wusports.com.