BARTLESVILLE, Okla.- The No. 18-ranked ranked and second-seeded Indiana Tech baseball team fell to No. 3-ranked and top-seeded Oklahoma Wesleyan, 15-14, in their second game of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round (Bartlesville Bracket) on Tuesday afternoon at Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium.
With the game tied at 14-all in the ninth, the Eagles would get the first two men on base with a single and a hit batter to get the winning-run into scoring position. Alex Delk would then come in and get an out off a sacrifice bunt before intentionally walking the next batter to get the force at any base. Kip McWilliams then moved left fielder Rico Caravalho over second base to create a five-man infield for the next at-bat.
On a 1-0 count, Oklahoma Wesleyan’s Hunter Henry would hit the ball right to second baseman Chris Gaynor, who threw the ball home for the force play and the second out of the inning. Tighe Koehring then fired the ball to third in an attempt to get Trevor Achenbach, who was got a late jump on the base paths, but the throw was low and got past Matt Bandor into the outfield, allowing Achenbach to give the hosts the walk-off win in the 3 hour and 50 minute affair.
The game was a back-and-forth affair as the two teams combined for 35 hits, 29 runs and nine home runs with winds of 15-20 miles per hour blowing out towards the 355 foot sign in center field.
The Warriors would strike first in the contest as Caravalho drove one over the wall in left field on the first pitch of the ball game, but the Eagles would respond in kind in the bottom of the frame as Achenbach launched the first of his three long balls with a shot to left as well.
OKWU would put up the first crooked number of the ball game with a three runs in the second, but the Orange and Black would counter with six runs of their own in the top of the third to take a 7-4 lead. Keith Tatum would start the scoring with a single, Tighe Koehring launched a three-run shot over the wall in center and Chris Gaynor knocked in Peyton Newsom with a single.
A pair of doubles and a two-run homer from the Eagles in the bottom half of the frame would tie the game back up at 7 while Achenbach launched his third homer of the game, and second on the first pitch, in the fourth, to give the hosts an 8-7 lead and chasing starter Cody Kellar.
McWilliams team would answer back in the sixth though, with Tatum drawing a bases-loaded walk to tie the game at 8-8, Koehring driving in the ninth run with an RBI ground out and Bandor lacing a double down the left field line to make it an 11-8 game.
Tech would tack on three more runs over the next two innings, with Tatum driving in his third run of the game with a solo shot in the eighth and Taylor Nychyk coming up with a pinch-hit RBI single to plate David Barksdale and put the visitors up 14-8 and needing six more outs to get to the championship game.
The number three team in the nation would show off its muscle in the bottom of the eight though, scoring six runs on five hits, including back-to-back homers to bring the Eagles within a run and tie the game, respectively, before coming away with the win in the bottom of the ninth.
Koehring drove in a team-high four runs, Matt Bandor went 4-5 with two RBI’s and two doubles, and Caravalho and Gaynor each picked up three hits while driving in a pair of runs each.
Tech (42-13) now faces an elimination game Wednesday against the winner of Midland and Bryan. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. EDT from Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium.