FORT WAYNE, Ind. – IPFW junior closer Jake Weber picked up a two-inning save in the opener – setting the program single-season record – and a win in the finale as the Mastodons took both ends of a doubleheader on Friday afternoon, winning the opener 5-2 and the finale 3-2.
Greg Kaiser went 3-for-5 at the plate with a home run, three runs scored, was hit by pitch three times, and three RBI’s. Evan VanSumeren went 3-for-7, as Shannon Baker was 2-for-3 with a pair of walks.
IPFW improved to 19-16 on the season and 8-9 in Summit League play while Western Illinois falls to 10-23 overall and 5-12 in the league.
In the opener, the Mastodons struck first when Kaiser was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, pushing across Brandon Soat, who opened the half inning with a walk.
The Leathernecks tied the game with a run in the top of the third before IPFW countered with three runs of its own when the team opened the inning with a single and two walks to load the bases, before Brock Logan hit a ground ball that the first baseman could not corral, allowing Kendall Whitman and VanSumeren to score, while a Kaiser single a batter later pushed across Trevino.
The Mastodons scored their fifth and final run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when Kaiser hit a one-out home run. The visitors scored once again in the seventh, but could not score again in the game.
VanSumeren went 3-for-5 at the plate with a run scored, while Kaiser drove in three, once in each of his first three at-bats of the contest. Trevor Storie evened his record at 4-4 on the season as he went the first 6.2 innings of the game, scattering seven hits and allowing one earned run, striking out four with no walks. Cody O’Neal pitched a third of an inning, while Weber walked one over two innings while striking out two en route to setting the single-season school record.
In the afternoon finale, neither team could score for the first five and a half innings, before the Mastodons squeaked a pair of runs across in the bottom of the sixth inning, the first when Jonathan Valenzuela-Reece walked with the bases loaded, scoring Trevino, before Sean Herberger hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field, allowing Kaiser to score, putting the hosts ahead 2-0.
Western Illinois scored once in the seventh and once in the eighth, knotting the score at two runs apiece.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Mastodons put runners on first and second after a hit by pitch and a walk, before Kaiser stole third base with Shannon Baker at the plate. The return throw from the third baseman to WIU pitcher Tyler Owings was quick and off the mark, and the ball rolled to the fence at the first baseline, giving Kaiser the opportunity to score the eventual game-winning run.
Weber, who came into the game in the top of the eighth inning, secured the win with a strikeout, a groundout, and a strikeout, picking up the victory on the mound.
IPFW had just three hits in the win, one each from Trevino, Kaiser, and Jon Timmermen. Kaiser scored twice, as Reece and Herberger had the team’s RBI’s. Ryan Wells had a no-decision on the mound, pitching the first six and a third inning, giving up eight hits and one run, striking out two without surrendering a walk.
The Mastodons will look for a series sweep on Saturday afternoon, as the teams meet at 3 p.m. for the third and final game of the series.