BARTLESVILLE, Okla. – The No. 18-ranked and second seeded Indiana Tech baseball team won a pair of high-scoring games and avoided elimination on Wednesday afternoon at Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round, defeating fourth-seeded Midland, 25-24, before taking down top-seeded and No. 3-ranked Oklahoma Wesleyan, 18-14, to force the if-necessary championship game
The first game of the day featured a pair of Warriors in an elimination game and plenty of fireworks to go along. The two teams broke the Opening Round record for combined runs in a game with 49, while combining for 54 hits and 14 home runs in nine innings as winds of 30-plus blew out all day long.
The key inning would be the seventh as Tech scored a pair of runs to increase its lead to 25-15 with needing just nine outs to advance to the championship game. Dante Biagini would line the first pitch he saw down the right field line before Glen McClain, who broke the single season hits record (95) later in the day, drove in Charlie Sipe with a sacrifice fly to make it a 10-run game.
Midland would come back with a vengeance though, scoring eight runs in the bottom of the seventh to cut the deficit to two. After pushing across another run in the eighth, the Orange and Blue Warriors would get the game-winning run to the plate with two outs, but Josh Wiesman would get the final out of the game with a fly out to left to pick up his second save of the season.
Matt Bandor (2), Glen McClain, Keith Tatum, Tighe Koehring and Peyton Newsom would all launch home runs while McClain recorded three doubles in the game and going a perfect 6-6 at the plate. Tatum drove in a game-high six RBI’s while Matt Bandor and McClain drove in five runs each.
The second game of the day pitted the top two seeds in the Bartlesville Bracket against each other for the second time in two days, but both offenses were relatively shut down early by both team starters as the game was tied 1-1 after two innings.
The Eagles would use homers in the third and fourth to take a 6-4 lead over the Orange and Black, but Tech would strike back with six runs in the bottom of the fifth. Bandor led things off with his third homer of the afternoon before Kip McWilliams’ team used five straight hits to tack on five more runs to make it an 11-7 ball game.
Bandor launched his fourth homer of the day in the seventh while McClain knocked in his 11th run of the afternoon with a single to plate Sipe in the eighth as the Warriors went ahead 18-10 with just three outs separating them from the if-necessary championship game.
With Wiesman entering his fourth inning of work for the game and sixth for the day, the Eagles would load the bases with a pair of singles and a walk before Mikey Ortega cut the deficit to four runs with a grand slam on a 0-1 count and just one out in the ninth. The senior left hander would battle back from 2-0 and 3-1 counts on the next batter to strike him out before getting leadoff hitter Trevor Achenbach to fly out to Newsom and seal the victory.
McClain would finish his day a perfect 12-12 at the dish while driving in 15 runs while Nick Noe picked up the win in game two and Wiesman earned his third save of the season.
Tech (44-13) will face off again with Oklahoma Wesleyan Thursday in the if-necessary championship game and the right to advance to the AVISTA-NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. EDT from Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium.