Wayne State Ends Sioux Falls NSIC Tournament Hopes With Sweeps
Cougars Drop Final Games Of The Year 4-3 & 11-10
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. –In a season of close calls, the University of Sioux Falls Baseball Team (19-31, 16-24 NSIC) had their NSIC postseason tournament hopes end with a pair of heart-breaking one run setbacks to Wayne State (28-22, 23-15 NSIC) on a sun-filled Saturday afternoon at the Birdcage. The Cougars, which fell to 7-8 in one-run affairs this season, lost game one, 4-3, when a late rally fell just short. In game two, the Cougars fell, 11-10, as they again rallied late and had the game-winning run in scoring position, but didn’t come up with the big hit.
On the day, the middle of the Cougars’ order was solid with 12 hits in 25 at bats. Leading the way was Austin Richey, who in his final two games at USF, was 4-of-8 as he finished the year batting .394. Junior outfielder Matthew Minnick had four hits in eight trips and supplied three RBI while stealing a base. And, Josh Rehwaldt was 4-of-9 with three runs scored and an RBI as he ended the year hitting .379 with 49 RBI. Senior Noah Durkin ended his career with a solid day, putting up three hits and knocking in three runs.
Between the two games, USF honored its 10 seniors, including Noah Durkin of Littleton, Colo.; Trevor Crow of Sioux Falls, S.D.; Zachary Miller of Goodyear, Ariz.; Austin Nordike of Lee’s Summit, Mo.; Ryan Patrick of McKinleyville, Calif.; Austin Richey of Winner, S.D.; Cole Sweeney of Chaska, Minn.; Zak Wallner of Amherst, Wis.; Gunner Peterson of Brookings, S.D.; and Chris Thompson of Papillion, Neb.
G1 – Wayne State 4 Sioux Falls 3 (7 innings)
In his final game with the USF program, Zak Wallner did what he has done all season – pitch effectively and efficiently. He tossed his sixth complete game of the season but the Cougars dropped a 4-3 decision to the Wildcats. The Cougars trailed 4-1 and a two-out rally in the ninth inning fall short.
Wallner (4-2) worked seven innings, allowing nine hits and four runs with five strikeouts and a walk in facing 32 hitters and throwing 78 pitches.
Rehwaldt and Minnick led USF’s offensive attack with two hits each. Minnick also had an RBI and scored a run. Richey had a pair of hits for USF.
Bobby St. Pierre (5-5) picked up the win for WSC, recording a complete game. He allowed 10 hits and three runs with four strikeouts and two walks. Cody Jenkins had two hits and three RBI to lead the Wildcats offense.
WSC grabbed the lead in the third inning when Jenkins had a two-run RBI single. Brian Besenius followed with a run-scoring single as the Wildcats pushed the lead to 3-0.
Minnick, who opened the fourth inning with a single, scored on fielder’s choice RBI by Rob Johnson as the Cougars cut the lead to 3-1.
In the seventh inning, Jenkins supplied his third RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly to score Jackson Peterson for a 4-1 lead. That tally by Peterson would prove to be the winning run.
In the bottom of the seventh, USF put together a two-run rally that just fell short. After a Cole Sweeney single, Durkin hit a two-out RBI double to the left field corner as the Cougars cut the lead to 4-2. After Rehwaldt singled, Minnick followed with an RBI single to move USF within 4-3. But St. Pierre was able to entice a ground out by Richey as the Cougars lost.
G2 – Wayne State 11 Sioux Falls 10 (9 innings)
Game two between USF and WSC would continue a trend of these two teams trading runs back and forth all day. After USF led 3-0, WSC tied it with a three-spot in the second. The Cougars took a 5-3 lead before the Wildcats tied it. Then, USF was able to take a 6-5 lead before WSC had a five-run sixth for a 10-6 lead. USF chipped away with two in the sixth inning and two in the seventh frame but couldn’t push across the tying run.
In his final start with USF, Thompson (3-3) took the loss as he allowed six earned runs and seven hits across five innings. He had a strikeout and two walks. Three other USF pitchers appeared in relief, including Stuart Maes, who allowed just an unearned run and a hit in three innings.
Mitchell Gullikson picked up his first win of the season, despite throwing just 2/3 of an inning. Kyle Kennebeck, one of the league’s top closers, picked up his ninth save although he had to work out of a two-on, one-out jam in the ninth inning.
Rehwaldt had two hits, RBI and three runs scored to lead USF’s offense, which had 11 hits. Minnick had two hits and two RBI while Richey and Durkin both had two hits. Durkin also had two RBI and a run scored.
The Cougars put up a three-spot in the first inning, including RBI triple from Rehwaldt and Richey’s RBI ground out.
WSC tied the game in the second inning as Chris May had a three-run double. USF answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning, spurred by a lead-off double from Brent Jarvis. Minnick’s RBI ground out plated Jarvis. Rehwaldt, who reached by error, scored on a wild pitch to give the Cougars a 5-3 advantage.
In the fifth inning, WSC tied the game at 5-5 with a sacrifice fly by Bisenius and a wild pitch, which enabled David Janes to scoring the game-tying run.
In the home half of the fifth inning, Jarvis reached by walk and eventually scored on an RBI infield hit by Minnick.
The Wildcats answered in the sixth, aided by a walk, error and balk on USF. Aaron Krier’s two-run double plated a pair of runs for a 7-6 lead. After a pitching change, Tanner Simons hit the first pitch for a three-run home run and a 10-6 advantage. With two out in the sixth inning, Connor Merriam, Gunner Peterson and Cole Sweeney drew walks with Merriam and Peterson scoring on Durkin’s two-run single as the Cougars cut the lead to 10-8.
WSC added to their lead with an unearned run in the seventh inning for an 11-8 advantage. USF answered in the bottom of the inning as Rehwaldt singled and scored on a wild pitch. Jack Revier’s RBI single brought home Richey, who had also singled in the frame. The two runs cut WSC’s lead to 11-10. In the ninth inning, Minnick singled and moved to third on Richey’s bad -hop double that eluded the third baseman for WSC. With the potential game-tying runner (Minnick) on third base and the potential game winning runner on second back (pinch runner Rob Johnson), Kennebeck forced a pair of fly outs to close out the game.