Emporia St. baseball splits at Pittsburg St.

COURTESY: Emporia St. Sports Information

Emporia State split a double header at Pittsburg State on Tuesday to take the season series from the Gorillas.  The Hornets won 9-2 in the night cap after a 5-0 loss in the first game to remain in third place in the MIAA.

Emporia State was shut out in game one for the first time since a 2-0 loss to Tarleton State in the third game of the year.  The Hornets were held to just three hits while allowing five runs, two unearned, on six hits for the Gorillas.  Pitt State scored all five runs in the first two innings. Emporia State starter Kevin Shaffer settled down and retired 11 of the last 13 batters he faced before Andrew Polly pitched a perfect ninth.

Ashton McCoy got one of the three hits for the Hornets in his first action since getting his jaw broken by a pitch against Washburn on March 16.

Like in the first game, the Hornets fell behind 1-0 on an unearned run in the first inning of the night cap.  McCoy tied the game in the second with a home run before the Gorillas added another run in the second.  Pittsburg State loaded the bases on starter Ben Jacks before Shawn Talkington came on in relief and got a strike out to end the threat.

With two outs in the third Jordan Slade started a rally for the Hornets with a solo home run.  Blake Sturgeon followed with a single and came home on Aaron Rea’s single to take the lead.  Eric Dawson doubled in Rea for a 4-2 lead. Todd Reller walked and McCoy was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  After a pitching change Andrew Blackwell walked to force in the fourth run of the inning give Emporia State a 5-2 lead.

The Hornets added a pair of runs in the sixth when McCoy reached on an error and came around to score on a Dalton Piecukonis double.  Piecukonis scored on Sturgeon’s single for a 7-2 Hornet lead.  Piecukonis scored again in the eighth after he reached on a single, went to second when Todd Schultz was hit by a pitch and then took third on a double steal.  Slade then laid down a squeeze bunt to sacrifice Piecukonis in for the final run in the 9-2 win.

Eight of nine Hornet starters either scored or had an RBI in the game.  Slade went one for four with a run and two RBI while Piecukonis was two for five with two runs and an RBI. McCoy went one for four with two runs, an RBI and reached base four times.  Talkington went 4.1 innings to get the win allowing just one hit and three walks while striking out seven.  Matt Hinkley and Keith Picht retired the final nine Gorillas to secure the win.

Emporia State will step out of the MIAA to play Bethany in a single nine inning game on Sunday afternoon.  First pitch on April 21 is set for 1 p.m. at the Trusler Sports Complex.

Coach Bob Fornelli sat out the first game of the DH to complete a two game suspension resulting from arguing balls and strikes in Saturday’s 6-5 win over Northwest Missouri.
The win was the Hornets 401st under Fornelli.

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