Pioneers win first game in national tourney opening round - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Pioneers win first game in national tourney opening round

Source: KCBD Source: KCBD

Provided by Wayland Baptist Athletics
HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Wayland Baptist first had to wait to get its initial game of the NAIA National Championships Opening Round started, then the Pioneers had to wait a bit longer to find their offense.  They ultimately did, though, and No. 23 Wayland went on to defeat the host team, No. 13 Tabor College (Kan.), 4-2, and advance in the winner's bracket.
The Pioneers (45-15) will take the field at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday to play the winner of a Tuesday night game between top-seeded, 11th-ranked Science and Arts of Oklahoma (45-11) and Morningside, Iowa (44-14). In the opening game of the five-team, double-elimination tournament, fourth-seeded Morningside topped Mayville State (N.D.), 6-0.
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Tuesday's game was supposed to get under way at 2:30 but was delayed some 2½ hours by inclement weather and wet grounds. 
Once the contest started, the Bluejays – looking to advance to the World Series for the third straight season – struck first with runs in the first and third innings. But Wayland responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth, then picked up an insurance run in the eighth, all the while blanking the Bluejays over the final five frames to take the win.
Tabor came in leading the NAIA in batting average and averaging 12 hits and nine runs per outing, both second in the NAIA. But WBU starter Paxton Bartley and reliever Taylor Bridges held Tabor way below those numbers, combining to allow just six hits. The senior Bartley (5-0) lasted 6 2/3 innings, giving up five hits while striking out four, walking one and hitting two. In his 2 1/3, the lefty Bridges – a starter most of the season – allowed just one hit with one strikeout to pick up his first save of the year. 
Wayland struck for nine hits, three by lead-off hitting shortstop Will Bass. Right-fielder Alex Mumm ended with two hits while Brayden Blackwell, Gregg Veneklasen, Jake Doyle and Ernesto Lizardo contributed one each. 
Blackwell got the ball rolling for Wayland when he led off the fourth with a single to shallow right-center field. Blackwell then scored on Veneklasen's double down the left-field line before a double to deep left-center scored Veneklasen to tie the score.
After Alex Mumm reached on an error, advancing Doyle to third, then Lizardi came through with a sacrifice bunt squeeze that scored Doyle with the go-ahead run.
The Pioneers' final run in the seventh occurred when Bass opened with a double to deep left-center, which sent Tabor starter Dylan Agra (5-3) to the bench in favor of Gregory Turner. Following a one-out intentional walk to Veneklasen, Doyle reached on a fielder's choice that advanced Bass to third. A single to shallow right by Mumm scored Bass to finalize the score at 4-2.
That run came after Wayland escaped a serious scoring threat by Tabor in the top of the seventh. The Bluejays would have had runners at second and third with one out, but Joel Frias was tagged out by Wayland third baseman Veneklasen after the hand of the sliding Frias came off the bag after initially beating the throw from Doyle in left field.
Bridges replaced Bartley after that and got the third out on a ground-out to WBU second baseman Taylor Grady.

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