ESU knocks off Washburn, advances in MIAA Tournament

May 3, 2014-Jordan Hodges RBI double in the bottom of the eighth gave Emporia State a 3-2 win over Washburn in the deciding game of their MIAA Opening Round Series at Trusler.  Brenton Higgins matched his longest outing of the season in relief to post the win.

The Hornets got on the board first with an unearned run in the third inning. Todd Schultz reached and went to second when Ichabod pitcher Mark Biesma threw the ball away trying to get the out at first to lead off the inning.  One out later Justin Harris singled him in to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead.

Dakota McKaskle took a no hitter into the sixth inning for Emporia State when Washburn finally got on the board.  With one out Connor Crimmins singled and came home on Parker Gibson’s double to tie the game.  Corey Gragg gave the Ichabods a 2-1 lead with an RBI single to chase McKaskle.  Brenton Higgins came on in relief and got a strike out and fly out around a hit batter to get out of the inning.

Levi Parker led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and went to second on a ground out by Harris.  Dean Long tied the game for the Hornets with a single up the middle.  Drew Ridley then relieved Biesma and got a pair of ground outs to end the inning.

The Hornets took the lead in the bottom of the eighth when Aaron Gile led off with a single to left center.  Wade Hanna sacrificed him to second to set up Hodges heroics. Hodges drilled a double to left that rattled around in the Washburn bullpen and allowed Gile to score the go ahead run.

Higgins then worked a perfect ninth to record his sixth win and send the Hornets to the MIAA Championship Tournament next weekend in Springfield, Mo.

Harris was two for four with an RBI while Gile went two for four with a run scored.  McKaskle went 5.1 innings and gave up two runs on three hits in the no decision.  Higgins matched his longest outing of the year, throwing 3.2 shutout innings with one hit and two strikeouts.

The Hornets will play Central Oklahoma on Thursday, May 8 at 2:30 p.m. at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo. They will then play either Missouri Western or Northeastern State in the second round of the double elimination tournament.

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