Russelville, Ark. – The #21 Emporia State baseball team scored five runs off regional pitcher of the year Jason Hoppe, but Minnesota State scored 11 runs on four Hornet pitcher in an 11-5 win by the Mavericks in the first round of the NCAA Central Region Tournament in Russellville, Ark. Emporia State will play the winner of the game between Arkansas Tech and Augustana on Friday afternoon.
Emporia State jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring all three runs with two outs. Dean Long was hit by a pitch to get the Hornets started. Toby Cornejo then walked and Long went to third on a wild pitch to put runners on the corners. Another wild pitch gave Emporia State a 1-0 lead before Price Jacobs homered to left field for a 3-0 Hornet lead.
Minnesota State answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Eric Peterson reached when Cornejo’s throw pulled Aaron Gile off the base to lead off the inning. After a single and a walk loaded the bases Long threw Peterson out at the plate for the first out. Stetson Olson singled in a run and Taylor Branstad then doubled in two to tie the game. They would then score four runs on five hits in the bottom of the second to take a 7-3 lead.
The Hornets got a run back in the fourth when Jacobs scored when Hodges reached on an error, but Wade Hanna was caught in a run down to end the inning. The Mavericks answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the bottom of the fifth for an 11-4 lead. Gile led off the Hornets half of the seventh and wen to third on Hanna’s single. Hodges hit a comebacker to Hoppe who’s throw to get Hanna at second was off line and allowed Gile to score. Todd Schultz lined out to third and Hanna could not get back to second in time to avoid the double play and effectively end the threat.
Jarrod Miller, who won two games on Friday and Saturday at the MIAA Tournament, took the loss, giving up seven runs on six hits as he fell to 7-6 on the season. Jacobs was one for three with two RBI and two runs scored while Hanna went three for four.
The Hornets will take on the winner of tonight’s late game between Arkansas Tech and Augustana on Friday at 3:30 p.m. in Russellville, Ark.