SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Playing in their first-ever post-season conference tournament game, the IPFW baseball team rallied from a two-run deficit in the top of the ninth inning, but fell on a walk-off bases-loaded single in the bottom of the tenth inning in the 2014 Summit League Tournament opening game against Western Illinois.
Five players had multi-hit games for the Mastodons, led by a 3-for-6 effort from Shane Trevino. Evan VanSumeren and Steve Lowden were each 2-for-3, while Kristian Gayday was 2-for-4 and Brandon Soat 2-for-5.
IPFW (19-35) jumped out first when Gayday hit a two-out double before being chased home on a Trevino single; however, the Leathernecks answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the first inning.
After a scoreless second inning, IPFW once again used a two-out rally starting with a Soat double, which was followed by a Gayday walk. For the second time in as many at-bats, Trevino hit an RBI single up the middle, scoring Soat. A Kevin Wirth walk loaded the bases, before Lowden was hit by a pitch a batter later to push home Gayday, and put the Mastodons ahead 3-1.
In an identical fashion to the first inning, Western Illinois answered right back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third inning. A two-run single from Gayday in the top of the fourth inning scored VanSumeren and Malcolm White, and Western Illinois could only answer with one run in the bottom of the fourth.
Trailing by one, Western Illinois scored three times in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 7-5 lead, one that would say for the next three innings.
After starting the game in an offensive fashion, the game turned decidedly towards the pitchers, as neither team was able to find the scoreboard for the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.
Trailing by two in the top of the ninth inning, IPFW got a leadoff walk from Lowden, which was followed by a looping single by Greg Kaiser. Pinch-hitter Lucas Salerno advanced the runners with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt, before VanSumeren hit an infield single to score Lowden. White beat out a double play chance at first base, which allowed Kaiser to score and tie the game at seven runs apiece.
The Leathernecks were only able to get a solitary hit in the bottom of the ninth inning, sending the game to extra frames. The Mastodons picked up two hits in the top of the 10th, but neither could score, as IPFW left 14 runners on base in the game.
Western Illinois had a pair of singles sandwich a strikeout, as both runners were advanced a base on a one-out balk. An intentional walk loaded the bases before JJ Reimer hit a sharp single to left field to end the game.
Brandon Phelps picked up the loss, pitching the 10th inning in relief, striking out one and allowing one earned run. Ryan Wells, the IPFW starter, went three innings and struck out four while allowing four hits and four earned runs. Kyle Sorensen pitched the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings for the Mastodons, giving up just two hits and striking out 10.
The Mastodons return to Sioux Falls Stadium in a noon ET first-pitch against the loser of the evening’s North Dakota State vs. South Dakota State battle.