Jack De Burgh’s walk-off winner in game two of a three-game series on Friday saved the Iowa Wesleyan baseball team from a three-game sweep and also put a dent in the SLIAC standings. The Tigers took one game from fourth-place Fontbonne, a team that is battling to get into the SLIAC tournament.
De Burgh singled through the left side of the infield with the bases loaded and one out, giving the Tigers a 5-4 win. That win was sandwiched in between a 10-2 loss on Thursday and an 11-7 loss on Friday evening.
The game two win came in extra innings. The bottom of the eighth started with a double by Nick Salas on a pop-up that was caught by the wind. Chazz Brown was intentionally walked. Tavares Williams laid down a successful bunt on an 0-2 count, and Joe Mitchell was intentionally walked. Deburgh followed that walk with a hard bouncer in between the third basemen and the shortstop to give IW its eighth win of the season.
The Tigers sprinked in seven hits in the win. Brown and Mitchell also had RBIs in the victory.
“Sal got a break with the wind,” said head coach Blake Beaber about the eighth inning. “They weren’t able to make a play, and he ended up on second bases. Base loaded, one out, Jack came up big for us.”
Charles Shockley pitched 5.2 innings to start the game strong. He gave up four earned runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out one batter. Mitchell Wilcox pickedup the win, throwing 2.1 shutout innings and giving up just two hits and two walks, while striking out one.
IW nearly won both games on Friday. A couple of RBIs from Mitchell, two from De Burgh and one each from Salas and Brown had the Tigers leading 7-6 after five innings, but the Griffins rallied to win the game 11-7 with two runs in the sixth and three in the seventh.
Michael Rojas threw 4.2 innings in the game three loss. He gave up six earned runs on 11 hits and two walks, while striking out four batters. Minami Matsumoto threw 1.1 innings, giging up two earned runs on three hits. Wilcox took the loss, giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits.
Game one was rough on Saturday. Fontbonne scored the first nine runs of the game, and IW’s only run production came from Salas, who went 2-4 with a homerun and two RBIs.
Kobe MacPherson was able to eat up innings in Thursday’s loss, throwing all nine innings and giving up 10 runs (eight earned) on 13 hits and one walk. That helped out a Tiger pitching staff that is currently shorthanded due to a handful of injuries.
After the series was over, Coach Beaber spoke about playing one of the top teams in the conference. IW helped bump Fontbonne back into a tie for fourth place, at 8-6, but he says he’d much rather be in the mix himself.
“We did make it a little tougher for them to make the tournament, but we’ve got to get to the point where we’re playing in games to get into the tournament too,” Beaber said. “I guess we played spoiler a little bit, but it wasn’t any extra motivation or anything.”
IW is sitting at 8-24-1 overall and 6-14 in the conference. They’ll be back at home for a doubleheader on Tuesday, April 23, against Monmouth College.