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Wayne State Baseball Opens with Sweep over Minot State

Posted: 23 February, 2014

Wayne State College opened the 2014 baseball season Saturday afternoon in Pittsburg, Kan., by recording a non-conference doubleheader sweep over Minot State. Scores of the games played at Jaycee Ball Diamond were 17-1 and 7-6.

In the opener, Wayne State scored 15 runs in the fifth and sixth innings to pull away for a 17-1 win. The Wildcats led 2-1 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, but scored five runs to take a 7-1 lead and put the game out of reach in the sixth inning with 10 runs to make the final score 17-1.

Freshman outfielder Jake Perez belted a grand slam to highlight the five-run fifth while WSC put together eight hits in the sixth inning, fueled by Aaron Molinaro's two run homer along with a three-run double by Michael Herman.

Wayne State finished the opener with 14 hits while holding Minot State to three. Molinaro finished 3 for 4 with three RBI and three runs scored, while junior shortstop Zak Leighton was 3 for 4 with three runs scored. Perez followed with his grand slam homer and four RBI while Herman contributed a three-run double.

Sophomore Eric Browning earned the pitching win, working 4 2/3 innings allowing an unearned run on three hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Senior Chad Kim pitched the next 1 1/3 innings, striking out four batters, while sophomore Spencer Morris worked the final inning, walking one batter without allowing a hit.

The second game saw Wayne State rally from a 6-2 deficit in the final two innings to post a come-from-behind 7-6 win.

Minot State scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead. But WSC chipped into the lead scoring three times in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 6-5. Michael Herman's two-run double was the big hit in the inning, while Nick McIntee added an RBI single.

In the seventh, WSC used a one-out single from Zak Leighton to start the rally. Leighton stole second and scored on Brandon Lalk's single to even the score at 6-6. Aaron Molinaro walked, moved to third on a pinch-hit single by junior Skye O'Neil and scored on a Jake Perez single to right centerfield giving WSC the 7-6 win.

WSC had 13 hits compared to nine by Minot State. Lalk finished 3 for 4 with two RBI to lead a balanced attack at the plate. Perez, Curtis Bussard and Leighton each added two hits in the win while Herman had a two-run double.

Junior reliever Ryan Zweck was the winning pitcher, the fourth Wildcat pitcher in the game. He threw the final 1 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit to earn the win. Starter John Roberts lasted 3 2/3 innings and was charged with three runs on five hits with three strikeouts.

Wayne State and Minot State will play another doubleheader Sunday afternoon in Pittsburg starting at 1 p.m.

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