Nebraska Wesleyan kept its postseason hopes alive with an impressive split against conference leader Doane College on Thursday in the final home games of the season for NWU baseball. The Tigers took game one, 3-0, but the Prairie Wolves bounced back to win the second game, 8-5.
NWU (11-23, 7-13 GPAC) will now head to Seward this Saturday night (Apr. 30) to take on Concordia University for the final spot in the GPAC tournament. If NWU sweeps both games from the Bulldogs, they will receive a berth in the GPAC Tournament that will be played May 5-7 in Sioux City, Iowa.
The Prairie Wolves had a chance in game one of the doubleheader against Doane, but couldn't take advantage of late inning opportunities. The Tigers got ahead 1-0 in the top of the first the scored two more in the fourth to lead 3-0.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Prairie Wolves loaded the bases with only one out. Tiger pitcher Nick Dawson got a strikeout and a fly out to end the threat.
The biggest threat was the bottom of the seventh inning. Matt Honerman led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch. Doane then brought in their closer Davis VandenBerge who walked Griffin DePriest and hit Tanner Lewis to load the bases with no outs. Nick Dolson then struck out looking and Jake Thompson hit into a double play to end the game.
Matt Schommer took the loss for NWU going 4.0 innings allowing three runs, only one earned on five hits. The Prairie Wolves had just three hits in the entire game as Dawson struck out seven in 6+ innings to get the win.
NWU had 12 hits in the second game and got a great start from Mike Lovgren to earn the 8-5 win. NWU scored three runs in the second inning as Thompson had an RBI infield single and Beau Kelly delivered a big two-run single down the third base line.
Kelly hit a two-run triple in the fourth inning to give the Prairie Wolves a 5-0 lead. Derek Erb-Woods and Tyler Vrba both had RBI singles in the bottom of the fifth to put NWU up 7-0.
Lovgren was in control on the mound for the Prairie Wolves throwing five scoreless innings in his longest outing of the year. Doane finally scored a run in the top of the sixth to pull within 7-1.
Erb-Woods singled in the bottom of the sixth to give NWU another insurance run.
Things got interesting in the top of the seventh as Doane began to make a comeback. The Tigers loaded the bases with one out then Mike Albert doubled to drive in two runs to knock out Lovgren. Jarek Sefrit came in to pitch and threw a wild pitch to pull Doane within 8-4. Anthony Dunn singled to drive in another run and make the score 8-5. Sefrit then struck out Michael Korsakas and got Jason West to ground out to end the game.
Lovgren improved to 2-1 on the year winning his second straight start. He went 6 1/3 allowing five earned runs on six hits with four strikeouts.
Kelly led NWU at the plate going 2-4 with four RBI, while Erb-Woods was 3-4 with two RBI as the lone senior player on Senior Day.