Late-game explosion powers Pioneers to 20-10 win

Late-game explosion powers Pioneers to 20-10 win
Source: Wayland Baptist Athletics

Information courtesy of Wayland Baptist Athletics

McPHERSON, Kan. – Wayland Baptist scored 15 runs in the final three innings – including nine in the ninth – to come from behind and post a 20-10 victory over Central Christian College in the Sooner Athletic Conference opener for both teams here Friday afternoon.

With temperatures in the 30s, the Pioneers (7-1) trailed the Tigers (1-13), 8-5, after six innings. But Wayland scored three in the seventh to tie it, three more in the eighth to go ahead, then nine in the ninth to make it official.

The ninth-inning explosion featured a grand slam by Austin Moya in his second plate appearance of the inning. In his first, Moya hit an RBI-double then scored on Gregg Veneklasen's RBI-single.

Nick Rucker also homered in the frame – a two-run blast. The Pioneers tallied five hits, three walks and a hit-batsman in the ninth.

In total, Wayland recorded 20 hits, including three by Moya who also doubled in the fourth. The Pioneers' No. 2-hole-hitting centerfielder went 3-for-7, scored three times and registered seven RBIs, two off the school record.

Rucker went 4-for-6, a triple short of hitting for the cycle. Lead-off hitting Yaniel Vargas went 3-for-4 with three walks. Veneklasen hit the first of WBU's three homers, a solo shot in the third. The Pioneers ended with seven doubles.

Chris Lacher, the last of three Wayland pitchers, benefited from Wayland's clutch offense and earned the win. Lacher pitched 2 2/3 innings, giving up two runs, one hit and no walks while striking out two.

Brayden Price started, lasting three innings as he gave up five runs on six hits with three Ks and a walk. Tanner Solomon went the next 3 1/3, also giving up six hits, three runs and two walks with a pair of strikeouts.

The teams are back on the field for a doubleheader beginning at noon Saturday.

Central Christian is in its first season in the SAC. Wayland hosted the Tigers last season in non-conference play for the schools' first-ever meetings with the Pioneers sweeping a three-game set.