ST. CHARLES, Mo. (WU Athletics) – Third-seeded Washburn used a gutsy pitching performance and a no-quit attitude offensively to walk-off in 11 innings over top-seeded Central Missouri, 2-1 on Sunday, May 14 at the MIAA Tournament.
Washburn (34-19) fought off several UCM offensive threats while shaking off failed attacks of its own, eventually coming through with a game-tying hit in the ninth and a walk-off single in the 11th.
Maustin Otterstatter threw 5.1 innings, exiting in the sixth with a line of three hits, one run and two strikeouts. Otterstatter walked just one batter as well, giving way to Kutzke with a runner on in the sixth.
Kutzke threw the next three innings in scoreless fashion, striking out three before Greg Mason (5-2) entered in the ninth with one out. The relief pitcher earned the win in his 84th career appearance, tying the MIAA record with a one strikeout, one walk effort as he did not allow a hit.
Lance Barkley had one hit and two RBI in the game, coming through in the clutch late in the game to give WU the win. Parker Gibson was 3-for-5 on the day with a double and Tanner Triggs went 2-for-4. Kyle Carnahan had a double as well in the game, while Cole Gardner and David Gauntt scored WU’s two runs.
UCM took a 1-0 lead in the second off a solo home run, and that’s where it stayed until the bottom of the ninth despite both teams threatening throughout the game.
The Ichabods faced danger throughout the game, including the third and sixth innings. In the third, UCM had runners on second and third with one out before Otterstatter induced a pop up and ground ball to first. Otterstatter exited in the sixth with a runner on second and one out, and though UCM loaded the bases, Kutzke buckled down with a strikeout and a pop up to second to get out of the jam.
WU put runners in scoring position through the first four innings, each time with two outs, but couldn’t find a clutch hit to get on the board. Later in the game, Washburn put a runner on third in the seventh, but a pickoff play ended the Ichabod scoring threat in the frame. Gibson started the eighth with a single and Carnahan walked, but WU again came up short offensively.
Down to its last chance, Triggs ripped a single up the middle before Cole Gardner pinch ran at first. Gardner swiped second soon after, and an errant throw on the play allowed him to take third with no outs. Barkley picked up the game-tying RBI with a ground ball to shortstop as Gardner raced home, forcing extras in the elimination game.
After a scoreless 10th and top of the 11th, Gauntt was hit by a pitch to open the inning and moved to second on Gardner’s sacrifice bunt. Barkley came through with heroics once more at the plate, taking a single through the left side as Gauntt dashed home for the win.
The Ichabods advance to Championship Sunday in the MIAA Tournament with the victory, and will take on Central Missouri at 9 a.m., on Sunday, May 15. The winner of Sunday’s matchup will advance to the championship game at 4 p.m., against either Northwest Missouri, Missouri Western or Emporia State from the other side of the bracket.