Russelville, Ark. – Emporia State got three RBI from Dean Long and advanced to Saturday with a 3-2 win over Arkansas Tech on Friday in Russellville, Ark.
Dakota McKaskle gave an outstanding effort on the mound for the Hornets, as he retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced. Levi Parker opened the bottom of the first for Emporia State with a walk and went to third on Justin Harris single. Harris stole second and Long laced a double down the left field line, just inside third base to give the Hornets a 2-0 lead.
McKaskle set the side down in order in the second, third and fourth innings while Arkansas Tech starter Mason Reynolds settled down after getting out of bases loaded jams in the first and second with only two runs coming across. Zac Johnson led off the fifth for the Wonder Boys with a triple and would score on a sac fly to cut the Hornets lead in half.
Kris Ayers led off the top of the seventh with a single and Zac Johnson beat out a bunt single to put runners at first and second for ATU. Shawn Talkington, who moved into the closer role last week with an injury to All-MIAA reliever Brenton Higgins, took over for McKaskle. A sac bunt put runners and second and third and a walk loaded the bases. Talkington got a strike out before allowing an infield single to score the tying run.
Harris led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to left center to bring up Long. The RBI leader in the MIAA squared around to sacrifice and laid a bunt down the third base line. The Tech catcher, pitcher and thirdbaseman all converged on the bunt leaving home plate uncovered and Harris never stopped rounding third to score the go ahead run.
Talkington set the side down in order in the eighth and, after giving up a one out error and sacrifice, struck out the Wonder Boys leading hitter Mike Kattula to end the game.
Harris was three for four with two runs scored while Long went two for four with three RBI. Talkington picked up the win, giving up one hit in 3.0 innings with four strike outs. McKaskle went the first 6.0 plus and allowed two runs on four hits with four strike outs.
With the win Emporia State advances to play Augustana at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Tech Field in Russellville, Ark.
Emporia State has won six straight elimination games, beginning with the deciding game of the MIAA Opening Round Series against Washburn and including four games in the MIAA Tournament in Springfield, Mo.