KWU Baseball blasts McPherson 12-3 to open KCAC Tournament play

GREAT BEND – Kansas Wesleyan hit five home runs in Wednesday night’s KCAC Tournament game against McPherson on the way to a 12-3 win over the Bulldogs at the Great Bend Sports Complex.

Three of the homers came off the bat of Dalton Whitaker (SR/Edmond, Okla.), who nearly completed the home run cycle, hitting a solo, a 2-run, and a 3-run homer. He finished the night 3 of 4 with six RBI and a walk. The one he didn’t hit out, almost got there, pushing McPherson’s left fielder up against the wall to make the catch.

Whitaker and the rest of the Coyote bats were not the only stars of the game.

Tyler Triano (SO/Hollister, Calif.) was again phenomenal on the mound for the Coyotes, going eight innings, allowing three runs, only one earned and striking out 10 batters while throwing 126 pitches. All three McPherson runs came in the first inning.

After McPherson had scored three in the first, two in part thanks to an error by the Coyotes, it was Wesleyan’s turn to get on the board with a 2 out rally. Josh Sandoval (SR/Glendale, Ariz.) got it started crushing a ball out to center, and Whitaker followed with his solo homer to make it 3-2 after an inning.

In the third, the Coyotes added two more on one swing by Whitaker. After Sandoval walked, Whitaker connected on his second of the night out to left which would give the Coyotes the 4-3 lead.

The Coyotes blew it open in the fourth with five runs. Dalton Bishop (JR/Colorado Springs, Colo.) led off the inning with a single and then scored on a fielder’s choice by William Dryburgh (SO/St. Joseph, Mo.). Haydn Brown (SR/Gardnerville, Nev.) then singled home a run setting up Whitaker’s third homer of the night, a monster blast to left putting the Coyotes up 9-3.

Wesleyan added single tallies in the fifth on a RBI double by Dryburgh and another single tally in the sixth on a homer by Trey Lopez (SR/Burlington, Wash.).

McPherson threatened to score in the top of the seventh, getting runners on second and third with just one out, but Triano would strike out the final two batters of the frame to keep the Bulldogs off the board.

Austin Cross (JR/Montgomery, Texas) drove in KWU’s final run of the game with a single that scored Spencer Keane (JR/Palm Springs, Calif.).

Ethan Wilson (JR/Thackerville, Okla.) pitched the ninth, getting a fly out and back to back strikeouts to close the game.

Bishop was 4 of 5 to lead the way for KWU while Whitaker had three hits and drove in six.

Wesleyan will play Ottawa on Thursday at 7 p.m. in its next tournament game.