The MCC baseball team squared off with the Reivers of Iowa Western on April 28 and 29. Entering the contests, the Reivers were ranked #10 in the NJCAA DI Baseball Poll. The teams played two games at Iowa Western on April 28. On April 29, the Tigers hosted two new games as well as the remainder of the halted game from April 1.
The Reivers showed why they are the #10 team in the country in game one of the series.
Braedyn McLaughlin took the mound for the Reivers and was dominant. Meanwhile, the Tigers went through three pitchers in the five inning contest.
The Tigers couldn't get anything going against McLaughlin and the Reivers as the pitcher threw a complete game and surrendered just one run. McLaughlin did however walk three batters.
The Tigers' best scoring opportunity came in the top of the first inning. Tom Josten doubled to lead the game off and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. But then McLaughlin showed why he's one of the top JUCO pitchers in the country as he struck out the next three batters.
It would take the Tigers until the fifth inning to get another runner in scoring position. This time it was Reece Blay. Blay reached on a walk before Tom Josten was hit by a pitch with two outs. However, McLaughlin struck out Candido Encarnacion swinging for the pitcher's twelfth and strikeout of the day. Of the 15 Tiger outs, 12 came via strikeout.
Meanwhile, Diego Almonte was on the mound for the Tigers and kept them in the game by allowing just two runs in the first three innings. But the pitching and defense suffered a letdown in the fourth and surrendered seven runs in the inning. A tenth run of the game came with two outs in the bottom of the fifth as Jaden Rolffs singled off of PJ Maldonado to score Cooper Bowman and end the game via ten run rule.
Game two saw the Reivers open up an early lead on David Davilla and the Tigers.
Through four innings, Iowa Western held a 4-0 lead, but Davilla was throwing well enough to keep the Tigers in the game. In the fifth inning, the Tiger offense showed up.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, Bryce Vinyard and Tom Josten drew back to back walks. The consecutive walks sent the Reivers to the bullpen. After Revier starter, Jordan Bonk hadn't surrendered a run, the Tigers took advantage of the move to the pen. Brandon Doty entered the game for the Reivers and walked the first batter he faced, Candido Encarnacion. Eli Bergeron then singled off of Doty to score both Vineyard and Josten. Both runs were attributed to Bonk. With runners on first and third, Nick Hagen struck out swinging to end the threat, but the Tigers now trailed just 4-2.
Davilla remained in the game and threw a scoreless fifth inning.
The Tigers pulled ahead, 5-4 with a three run top of the sixth. Jeffry Roldan got the scoring started as he scored on a Quin Hall double after being hit by a pitch. Hall then stole third and scored on a pinch-hit double by Tyler Coleman. After Vinyard struck out for the second out of the inning, Tom Josten singled to score Coleman and put the Tigers in the lead.
Davilla threw another scoreless inning in the sixth.
After the Tigers added one insurance run in the top of the seventh, they went to the bullpen and Jacob Medcalf. After giving up a leadoff single, Medcalf struck out the next two Reivers and induced a groundout to Encarnacion to end the game and the Tigers claimed game two of the series 6-4.
The series traveled to Marshalltown on April 29 and started off with the continuation of the halted game from April 1. The game picked up in the top of the fourth inning with the Tigers leading 5-4. Walter Hernandez was on the mound for the Tigers and Jayden Kruse was pitching for Iowa Western.
With both pitchers fresh entering the fourth inning, the remainder of the game was largely a pitcher's duel. Hernandez allowed just one hit in the fifth inning and held the Reivers at 4. The Tigers didn't do much damage from the plate either, but did add a run in the bottom of the fifth as Reece Blay singled in Ryan Carter who had hit a two-out double.
The Tigers took the halted game 6-4 as Hernandez cruised.
Game three showed a difference in pitching depth between the two teams.
The Tigers turned back to Hernandez after the sophomore had thrown four scoreless innings in the previous game. The Reivers went with a new arm, Jared Simpson.
With pitching four innings earlier in the day, Hernandez lasted just 2.33 innings, but threw well. In his two plus innings, he allowed two runs on four hits while also walking two. However, he didn't have the velocity or movement that fans have come to expect as he didn't strikeout any of the twelve batters he faced. Raymond Collazo entered the game in relief of Hernandez in the third inning. Through three, the Reivers led 2-0.
MCC pulled even with the Reivers in the fourth. After Collazo pitched a clean fourth inning, Luiz Menendez tied the contest at 2-2 with a two-out homerun after Jeffry Roldan had bunted for a single with two outs.
It didn't take long for the visitors to get back on top as the second batter in the top of the fifth, Cooper Bowman, hit a solo shot to left to make the score 3-2. The next batter tripled, but Collazo worked his way out of the jam to keep the score 3-2.
After the Tigers went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fifth, Iowa Western pulled ahead 5-2 in the top of the sixth. Again, the Tigers couldn't respond and trailed 5-2 entering the final frame.
The wheels fell off for the home team in the top of the seventh inning. Jaden Rolffs and Ronald Sweeny III led the inning off with back-to-back solo homeruns that set the tone for the inning. The Tigers then went back to the bullpen as they turned to Michael Ver Lee. Ver Lee faced just two batters. He walked the first batter he saw and hit the second before he was replaced by Blake Lindsey. Lindsey didn't last much longer. He faced just three batters while giving up a hit and walking two. Then came Jimmy Kurka. It took Kurka ten batters to record three outs. By the time the top of the seventh was over, the Reivers had scored twelve runs and led 17-2.
After the letdown, the Tigers couldn't get anything going in the bottom of the seventh and dropped the game 17-2.
Iowa Western picked up where they left off in the top of the first in game four of the series. Cooper Bowman led the game off by drawing a walk from Jake Everaert. Caleb Balgaard then singled and Ronald Sweeny III doubled to score Bowman and Balgaard before the Tigers could collect an out. The next two batters flew out to left. But Ross Indlecoffer hit a two out double to score Sweeny III for the third run of the top of the first before Everaert recorded his first strikeout for the third out of the frame.
The Tiger bats couldn't get anything going off of Reiver starter Dalton Mall through the first three innings and trailed 6-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth as the Reivers added one run in the second and a pair of runs in the top of the fourth.
The Tigers got to the Iowa Western Bullpen in the bottom of the fourth after Mall hit or walked three MCC batters while collecting just one out on a fielder's choice before being replaced four batters into the bottom of the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Derek Shoen entered the game for the road team. After striking out Travon Hughes looking for the second out of the inning, Shoen plunked Bryce Vinyard to score Tyler Coleman. Shoen then struck out Reece Blay to end the fourth inning with the Reivers ahead 6-1.
Both teams went scoreless in the fifth before Iowa Western added a single run in the sixth and three runs in the top of the seventh. Shoen cruised through the sixth and the Tigers trailed 10-1 with just three outs to play.
Shoen remained in the game to start the seventh, but control issues got him and the Reivers in a jam. After walking Tom Josten to lead off the inning, he then induced outs by Candido Encarnacion and Eli Berggeron to take the Tigers down to their final out. Luis Menendez then singled in Josten to bring the score to 10-2. Pinch hitter, Kole Jurgens then walked and Nick Hagen was hit by a Shoen pitch to load the bases and end Shoen's day.
Marius Balandis entered the game for the Reivers looking to shut down the threat. However, Balandis walked the first batter he faced, Julio Sanchez and then gave up a two-run double to Jeffry Roldan. Suddenly, the Tigers were down just 10-5. But the spark of hope was quickly extinguished as Balandis settled down to strikeout Vinyard swinging and end the game.