It was the perfect combination for Kansas Wesleyan’s baseball team – stellar starting pitching and a re-enactment of Home Run Derby.
Nathan Righi (JR/Pekin, Ill.) allowed one run on one hit in seven innings in the Coyotes’ 11-1 victory over Iowa Wesleyan in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Dean Evans Stadium. Jarrett Brannen (JR/Bakersfield, Calif.) was equally impressive in the nightcap surrendering two runs on three hits in six innings as KWU completed the sweep with an 11-2 victory.
The Coyotes improved to 11-5 and have won five in a row.
Coach Bill Neale said the key was Righi and Brannen’s ability to consistently throw strikes.
“They pounded the (strike) zone and when you do that, you’re going to have a lot of success,” he said. “They’ve been consistent and have been our top two guys, just going out there and giving us a chance each time. They did a great job today.”
Righi struck out seven and walked three, Holvin Catala’s homer in the fifth the only blemish. Brannen, who was named KCAC Pitcher of the Week last Monday, struck out four and walked three. He pitched five scoreless innings after giving up two runs in the top of the first.
“Righi was mainly fastball, slider, cutter,” Neale said. “JB was fastball, slider and had a changeup going today – that’s something that him and Huff (pitching coach Tyler Huffstickler) have developed. If he becomes a three-pitch guy he’s going to be real dangerous because he’s been dominant with his fastball and slider.”
Coyote hitters backed Righi and Brannen with six home runs on the day – two apiece from Kendall Foster (SR/Prosper, Texs) and Zack Beatty (JR/Maple Park, Ill.). Diego Fisher (SR/Hollister, Calif.) and Coulson Riggs (FR/Piedmont, Okla.) also homered – Riggs getting the first of his collegiate career.
“It was good to see different guys stepping up,” Neale said of the offense. “Kendall had a good day; Beatty got his (homers) and it was nice to see the freshman Coulson Riggs get his first home run.”
The Coyotes and IWU play a single game at noon Sunday at Evans Stadium in their final non-conference game of the season.
KWU 11, IOWA WESLEYAN 1
The Coyotes broke a scoreless tie with four runs in the third inning. Haydn Brown (SR/Gardnerville, Nev.)’s sacrifice fly scored Fisher and Beatty followed with a three-run homer to straight away center that scored Will Dryburgh and Dusty Sipe ahead of him.
KWU tacked on two more runs in the fourth on Foster’s two-run homer, Fisher crossing home plate ahead of him.
The Coyotes scored three in the seventh for a 9-1 lead. Beatty came home from third on a double play and Fisher hit a two-run homer. Riggs, batting for Beatty, led off the eighth inning with his home run making it 10-1 and the game ended on the run-rule when Dryburgh drew a bases-loaded walk that scored Diego Solis (SO/El Paso, Texas).
Dryburgh and Solis had three hits apiece while Fisher and Beatty each had two as the Coyotes totaled 13 for the game. Fisher also scored three times.
Iowa Wesleyan had two hits in the game.
KWU 11, IOWA WESLEYAN 2
Iowa Wesleyan scored twice in the top of the first inning but the lead was short-lived. The Coyotes scored four in the bottom of the first on Sipe’s two-run double that scored Dryburgh and Foster. Sipe then scored on Beatty’s second homer of the day.
KWU added four more runs in the second inning. The Tigers committed three errors and Foster had an RBI ground out.
Foster capped his big day with a three-run homer in the third that scored Jarrett Gable (SR/Colleyville, Texas) and Fisher in front of him.
Foster drove in four for the game and had two hits along with Dryburgh and Beatty to lead KWU’s nine-hit attack. Beatty and Sipe each had two RBI and Dryburgh, Foster and Sipe each scored twice.
Iowa Wesleyan (3-6) had three hits, just one after the first inning.