Russelville, Ark. – For the seventh time this post season the #21 Emporia State baseball team found a way to win, scoring three runs in the top of the ninth to defeat #30 Augustana 3-0 on Saturday in Russellville, Ark. The Hornets have advanced to Sunday’s championship round and will need to win two games to win the regional.
The Hornets Travis Hendry and the Vikings Tyson Gau were locked in a pitcher’s duel through the first eight innings. Hendry, who started the season in the bullpen for Emporia State, struck out the side in the bottom of the first. He faced the minimum through the first 4.2 innings thanks to a double play and caught stealing in the second. Gau matched him, giving up only two hits and a walk with two hit batters in 8.0 innings.
Hendry got one out in the seventh before giving up a single and getting relieved by Dylan McEwin. The Vikings got down a bunt to put runners at first and third before McEwin got a strike out for the second out. He then hit a batter and Shawn Talkington was called in with the bases loaded. The starter turned closer coaxed a foul out to get out of the inning.
Justin Harris led off the top of the ninth with a single to left and stole second. Dean Long, who had all three RBI in Friday’s win, walked and both moved up a base on a wild pitch. Toby Cornejo was then hit by a pitch to load the bases and end the day for Gau. With Price Jacobs at the plate, the Vikings reliever Derek Quame was called for a balk to score Harris. Jacobs would go on to strike out for the first out of the inning. With Aaron Gile up Quame threw a wild pitch that allowed Long to score and Augie’s catcher Jack Goihl threw the ball into the Hornets dugout allowing Cornejo to score the third run.
After a strike out to open the bottom of the ninth, Talkington gave up a single and a walk before getting the second out with another strike out. Cornejo then snagged a line drive to end the game.
Hendry threw a shut out for 6.1 innings allowing four hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Talkington got the win out of the bullpen for the second straight game giving up a hit and walk with three strike outs in 2.1 innings.
The Hornets will play Minnesota State at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Mavericks and host Arkansas Tech will play the final game of the day at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. If Minnesota State wins Saturday night, the Hornets will need to defeat the Mavericks twice to claim the regional title. If Ark. Tech wins on Saturday, the Hornets will have to defeat the Mavericks and then the Wonder Boys to advance to Cary, N.C. for the Division II National Championship Tournament.