Vikings' comeback bid falls short
OLATHE, Kan. -- Trailing by five runs heading into its final at-bat Saturday, the Missouri Valley College baseball team got the tying run to the plate.
However, MidAmerica Nazarene junior closer Justin Huggins got the final out to save a 7-3 Heart of America Conference victory at Olathe, Kan., handing the Vikings their seventh straight loss.
Valley began the game well enough, with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. One-out singles by junior Brady Dean, freshman Josh Hartin and junior Geread Filippi loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly by junior Deante Bernstine and senior Sebastian Salas' base hit plated the runs, but two were left on base.
The Vikings' lead didn't survive the bottom half of the frame. Junior Kyle Segraves singled, stole second base, went to third on a balk and came in on freshman David Hamlett's single. Senior southpaw Scott Carpenter picked Hamlett off second base following senior Jarid Renzelman's single, but junior Ben Alison delivered a two-out triple to put the Pioneers in front, 3-2.
MidAmerica added two runs in the second on two errors, a walk and Segraves' RBI single. Another unearned run crossed in the third when wild throw put Alison on base and junior A.J. Nunley doubled him in.
The Pioneers banged out three hits in the fourth, Segraves' single leading to a run when Renzelman stroked one up the middle. Alison doubled, but Renzelman was held at third base and senior reliever Jarrod Hogan induced a grounder to prevent further damage.
Freshman Randy Diocares tossed a pair of scoreless innings for the Vikings, but they couldn't get to sophomore lefthander Kyle Olson again until the seventh.
Salas started the rally with a leadoff double and an infield single by junior Ben Elkin put runners on the corner. Olson got the next two batters without either runner advancing, but back-to-back walks to sophomore Troy Langan and Salas filled the sacks and forced in a run.
Huggins took over on the hill and got Hartin on a swinging third strike to end the game.
The second game of the scheduled doubleheader, which was moved from Marshall because of wet grounds, was postponed due to rain.
Segraves had three hits to pace a 10-hit attack by MidAmerica Nazarene (12-7, 5-2 HAAC).
Salas had two of Valley's seven hits. The Vikings (5-12, 0-7) were scheduled to play their first game of the season at Osage Field on Tuesday when against league rival Avila, but that doubleheader has been moved to Kansas City due to field conditions.