GREAT BEND, Kan. – The Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes needed a win over the Tabor College Bluejays to keep their KCAC Tournament run going.
They got it done.
That wasn’t the only accomplishment of the day for the Coyotes. KWU tied the program single seasons win record, posting their 40th win of the season in an 8-6 win over the Bluejays on Thursday at Great Bend Sports Complex.
The 40-win plateau was initially set by the 2009 Coyotes who won the KCAC and advanced to the first-ever NAIA National Championship Opening Round tournament. The 2008-09 season was the first for the NAIA to use the direct qualification model for postseason rather than the regional model.
The Coyotes had to rally for the win. Wesleyan fell behind 4-0 in the top of the first inning to the Bluejays but got things going in the bottom of the inning, chipping away at Tabor’s lead.
Kendall Foster (SR/Prosper, Texs) walked and Dustin Sipe (SR/Aztec, N.M.) doubled in the bottom of the first and Haydn Brown (SR/Gardnerville, Nev.) continued to swing a hot bat, connecting for a 2-run single to center to make it 4-2.
The Coyotes drew even with Tabor in the bottom of the second. Zach Olson (JR/Red Deer, Alberta) homered and after the Coyotes loaded the bases on walks to Kansuke Okada (SR/Osaka, Japan) and Foster around William Dryburgh (SR/St. Joseph, Mo.) being hit by a pitch, Sipe walked to force home the second run of the inning and tie it 4-4.
Jarrett Gable (SR/Colleyville, Texas) singled to start the third and three batters later Okada singled to bring in Gable and give the Coyotes the lead.
Tabor tied it in the fourth, but the Coyotes scored twice in the bottom of the inning to take the lead back. Foster and Brown walked, followed by Zack Beatty (JR/Maple Park, Ill.) reaching on an error. Two batters later Kevin Esquilin-Cruz (SR/Trujilo Alto, Puerto Rico) singled to score two and make it 7-5 Coyotes.
Beatty drove in a run in the fifth to increase the Coyote lead to 8-5
Tabor got within a run in the seven plating one, but couldn’t get anything going over the final two innings.
Tabor outhit the Coyotes 16-8 in the game. Eight different Coyotes had one hit each. Foster scored three times. Brown and Esquilin-Cruz drove in two runs each.
Jarrett Brannen (JR/Bakersfield, Calif.) picked up the win for the Coyotes, improving to 14-0 overall. Ryan Sandoval (SR/El Paso, Texas) got his fifth save of the season, pitching a perfect ninth.
The Coyotes are back in action again on Friday, in another elimination contest, this time against the Ottawa Braves who outlasted Friends on Thursday night 11-10. Ottawa led 11-0 in the bottom of the seventh when the game was delayed to lightning and rain. Once the weather cleared, Friends battled back, eventually leaving the game-winning run on first base in the bottom of the ninth.