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Saints Settle for Split with Plainsmen

KSCB News - February 13, 2013 6:24 am

After a weekend full of missed chances, the Seward County Saints had to settle for a 2-2 split with the Northeastern Plainsmen in their annual series at Brent Gould Field Friday and Saturday. The Saints got a stellar pitching performance from Tyler Wiedenfeld to take game one of the series 2-0, but couldn’t get anything going on offense in game two as they fell 4-0. In game three TJ Looney gave Seward another solid outing on the mound as the Saints hung on for a 5-4 win, but in game four Northeastern came out on top 7-3 in extra innings after the Saints failed to take advantage of late game scoring opportunities and were forced to settle for the split.

In the opener of the series, pushed up to Friday because of impending weather, Seward County righthander Tyler Wiedenfeld took the mound and set the tone early, striking out the side in the 1st inning and picking up two more in the 2nd to keep Northeastern off the board through 2. The Saints got on the board first in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Bryson Allen singled on the first pitch of the frame and later came around to score on a single Diego Cruz to make it 1-0 Seward. Wiedenfeld worked out of trouble in the 3rd after a pair of two out singles but the Saints couldn’t give their starter any more cushion after a threat in their half of the 3rd was derailed with an inning ending double play. The Saints were gifted a run in the bottom of the 4th as Northeastern pitching issued three free passes to Seward, including one with the bases loaded to force home a run and make it 2-0. Wiedenfeld worked around a hit by pitch and a Seward error on defense in the top of the 5th to keep the score 2-0 but the Saints again bounced into a twin killing in the bottom of the inning with a runner on and weren’t able to stretch their lead. Wiedenfeld finished his day with another quick inning, striking out his 10th batter of the afternoon to keep it a 2-0 game before turning the ball over to the Saints closer Johnny Griffith for the 7th. Griffith, an Army signee, breezed through the Plainsmen bats in the top of the 7th, notching a pair of strikeouts to secure his second save of the season to give the Saints a 2-0 victory. Wiedenfeld was spectacular for Seward in his second outing of the year, striking out 10 Northeastern hitters in 6 innings of shutout work, allowing just 3 hits without walking a batter to earn the win. The Saints managed just four hits themselves to spoil a solid start from Northeastern lefty Brennan Henry to was tagged with the tough luck loss.


In game two, the Saints had the tables turned on them by soft tossing lefthander Ryan Reno of Northeastern. The Plainsmen scored first in this one as back to back singles to start the game followed by a walk and another single gave Northeastern a 1-0 lead right off the bat. The Saints had runners on in both the 1st and the 2nd innings but couldn’t move them past first base and it remained 1-0 Northeastern into the 3rd. In the Plainsmen 3rd, a walk and a hit batter two pitches later set the table and with two outs, a single through the left side brought a run home and made it 2-0. Seward went down in order in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings while Northeastern added another run in the top of the 5th and after five complete it was 3-0 Plainsmen. A one out single followed by a triple pushed another Plainsmen run home in the 6th and despite getting a runner to third thanks to a Northeastern error in the bottom of the inning, the Saints still could not manage a run as the teams went to the 7th. Both teams went down 1-2-3 in the 7th and Brent Bezio had his second straight three up three down frame for the Saints in the 8th to keep it a 4-0 game, but Seward simply couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end of things and would fall 4-0 after a strikeout ended the game. Seward managed just 2 hits in the loss while striking out 9 times. Hayden Howard was tagged for the loss for the Saints, going 4 2/3 and allowing 2 earned runs while striking out 6. Bezio threw 4 1/3 innings for the Saints and gave up just 2 hits and 1 run while fanning 3.


It was another good start for the Plainsmen in game three as leadoff man Edwin Bell tripled to start the game and scored right away on a double from Danny Westerburg to make it 1-0 Northeastern after ½ inning of play. The Saints loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning but a strikeout and a fly out ended the threat and kept the Plainsmen in front 1-0. Seward starter TJ Looney threw a nine pitch 2nd inning for the Saints but Seward went down just as quickly in the bottom of the inning to keep the game 1-0 into the 3rd. Looney struck out the first two batters of the 3rd and after a Seward error allowed the third batter of the inning on base, Cruz gunned down the potential base stealer at second to get the momentum on the side of the Saints. Two Northeastern errors in the 3rd helped the Saints take a 2-1 lead and with two outs Reed Thompson came up big with an RBI single to make it 3-1 Seward. Looney worked around a leadoff single in the 4th and the Saints opened the game up in the bottom half of the frame. Shortstop Jake Fuller reached on an error to get things going and Francisco Bolanos doubled down the line with one out to score him and make it 4-1 Saints. With two outs, it was Troy Owen’s turn to step into the spotlight and the Seward sophomore took advantage with an RBI single on a full count pitch to drive home Bolanos and make it 5-1. Looney punched out the side in the 5th, but the Saints were unable to add to their lead in the bottom half and to the 6th it went with the score 5-1. Northeastern finally got to Looney in the 6th with a run, but reliever Austin King thwarted further trouble as he came in and got a big strikeout of JJ Bissell to keep the Saints in front 5-2 after the Plainsmen brought the tying run to the plate. Things got interesting in the 7th as after two quick outs it looked like the Saints had the game in the bag, but three straight Northeastern singles made it a 5-3 game and another got the Plainsmen to within one at 5-4 with two on and two out. Griffith came in once again trying to nail down the Saints victory, but the sophomore walked the first batter to load the bases and step up the intensity one more notch with the tying run now just 90 feet away. On an 0-1 pitch, a weakly hit ground ball to the right side was fielded and on a bang bang play at first base the Saints got the out call and the game was over with Seward the victors 5-4. Looney earned the win on the mound for Seward with 5 2/3 innings of work, allowing just 1 earned run while striking out 7. Bolanos led the Saints offensive attack with 3 hits and an RBI while Owen had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s and Thompson also added 2 hits and a run batted in.


The series finale would be another thriller for the Plainsmen and the Saints as Seward looked for a series win and Northeastern looked to salvage the split. In his first collegiate start, Seward freshman Keenan Hall kept Northeastern off the board through the first two innings and did it in style in the 2nd with three straight strikeouts to allow the Saints to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd after Deven Nelson doubled to start the inning and Thompson drove him in to give Seward the early lead. Northeastern got their first hit of the game in the top of the 3rd and with two outs, Westerburg laced a single to right to score a pair and give the Plainsmen a 2-1 lead. Both teams went in order in their next at bats and a double from Allen was wasted in the Seward 4th on a baserunning blunder and it remained 2-1 in favor of Northeastern into the 5th. The Plainsmen manufactured a run after a leadoff double in the 5th to make it 3-1 but the Saints fought back and a two out RBI single from Alex Scanlan in the bottom of the inning brought the game even at 3-3. With newfound confidence, Hall kept the Plainsmen at bay in the 6th and with two outs in the Saints 6th Thompson tripled past a diving Northeastern center fielder, but Seward couldn’t push the go ahead run across with two outs and it remained 3-3 into the 7th. Hall once again impressed in the 7th, getting a pair of strikeouts and a caught stealing by his battery mate Cruz to give the Saints a chance for their second series ending walkoff in a row in the bottom of the 7th. With one out Griffith, starting at third base in this one, doubled down the left field line and moved to second on a groundout. With two outs, Scanlan stepped to the plate with a chance to be the hero and tapped a slowly hit chopper to the left side and dove into first in a cloud of dust as the ball was arriving at the bag but was called out and the game went to extra innings tied at 3. Northeastern wasted no time in getting things going in their half of the 8th as they picked up back to back singles on the first two pitches of the inning and scored a run on the third thanks to a Ben Chamberlain double to make it 4-3. After a ball to the fourth hitter of the inning Jordan Procyshen, the sophomore slammed a single up the middle to score two more and in the blink of an eye it was 6-3 Northeastern. A safety squeeze later in the inning added an insurance run for the Plainsmen but it wouldn’t be needed as Seward went down in order in the 8th and fell 7-3. Hall got a no-decision for the Saints in his first start, going 7 innings, allowing 6 hits and 3 runs while striking out 8. Scanlan finished 2 for 4 with a pair of RBI’s for Seward while Thompson had 2 hits including the triple, and an RBI as well.


The split moves the Saints to 5-2 overall on the 2013 campaign. Next up will be a date with #16 Lamar on the road Wednesday before a trip to Dallas over the weekend where the Saints will take on Galveston in a four game set.


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