13th-ranked Fresno Pacific University scored fiveunanswered runs in the last three innings as they rallied for a 9-7 victory to eliminate Nebraska Wesleyan from the NAIA National Baseball Tournament opening round on Wednesday (May 13) in Sioux City, Iowa.
NWU finishes the season with a 28-13 overall record which is a school record for victories.
The Prairie Wolves led 7-4 after six innings after they scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth. However, NWU had a chance to have a huge sixth inning as they had the bases loaded with only one out and the heart of the order coming up. The Prairie Wolves stranded three runners and couldn't score the rest of the ballgame.
Trailing 9-7 heading into the bottom of the ninth, NWU showed the character and fight that they had all season as they would not give up. Max Hubka led off with an infield single, then Cory Hilgenkamp followed up by reaching on a fielder's choice and pinch-runner Joe Stepanek was safe at second on an error. With runners at first and second and nobody out, Stepanek was picked off at second. The next two batters were retired and the game was over.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, NWU rallied to score four runs in the bottom of the first to go up 4-2. Josh Ostrom had a two-run double and Boo Frields added a two-run single.
FPU (34-19) added a run in the second and tied the game in the fifth inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Jeremy Peters led off the inning with a triple. Cory Hilgenkamp drove him in with a single to center to make the score 5-4.
In the sixth inning, Tyler Stephenson had an RBI on a fielder's choice and Peters had an RBI single to make the lead 7-4 before the Sunbirds rallied.
Hilgenkamp took the loss on the mound for NWU after coming in for relief in the seventh inning. Chris Wahl started for the Prairie Wolves and went 6 1/3 allowing six earned runs on nine hits.
Peters and Hilgenkamp were both 2-5 to lead NWU at the plate, while Hubka was 2-4.
The memorable season ends for the 2009 NWU baseball team and they will leave as GPAC Champions, Postseason qualifiers and hold claim to the school record for victories.