LEBANON — The McKendree University baseball team stretched its win streak to five games with a doubleheader sweep Tuesday at home against Harris-Stowe State University. The Bearcats held on for a 4-2 win in the opener before rallying to take a 6-5 victory in game two.
The Bearcats trailed 5-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning of the nightcap before a four-run rally tied the game heading into the seventh inning. Sophomore outfielder Jason Hobson then provided the heroics in the bottom of the seventh inning with a walk-off RBI single to plate the winning run.
McKendree pushes its record to 5-2 on the year. The Bearcats will make their Great Lakes Valley Conference debut Saturday at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S & T). First pitch is set for noon in Rolla, Mo.
Freshman left-hander Sam Lidisky (Althoff) scattered seven hits with five strikeouts to earn his first collegiate victory in game one. Lidisky worked out of jams in each of the final two innings to help McKendree hang on for the win.
The Bearcats built a 4-0 lead thanks to single runs in the second and third innings, followed by a two-run outburst in the fourth inning. In the second, sophomore infielder Jake Kline led off with a single and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore outfielder Bryce Harre (Nashville). Sophomore outfielder Kyle Rutledge doubled with one out in the third inning and scored two batters later when Kline delivered an RBI single to left field.
Hobson walked with one out in the fourth inning and moved to second base on a balk. Harre brought Hobson home with an RBI triple to extend the Bearcats' lead to 3-0. Junior infielder Tony Kossina (Belleville West) followed with a run-scoring single that plated Harre to give McKendree a four-run cushion.
Harris-Stowe (1-9) scratched out single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to trim the deficit to 4-2. The Hornets loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh inning, but Lidisky struck out the final batter to wrap up the victory for McKendree.
Kline finished the contest by going 3-for-3 at the plate. Kossina and Harre each added a pair of hits for the Bearcats.
McKendree grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning in game two. Senior catcher Tom Collins (Metro East Lutheran) led off with a double and moved to third on an infield single by Kossina. After sophomore infielder Pierce Borah (Mount Vernon) walked to load the bases, Rutledge hit a slow bouncer to shortstop that he legged out for an infield hit to score Collins with the first run of the contest.
The Hornets' Travis Brown tied the game with a solo home run in the fourth inning, then blasted a grand slam in the fifth inning to give his team a 5-1 lead. McKendree responded with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the contest at 5-5. Senior first baseman Rob Beatty (Belleville West) started the uprising with a double off the right-field fence. Beatty moved to third on a wild pitch before walks to Hobson and Harre loaded the bases with nobody out.
Following a Harris-Stowe pitching change, junior catcher Tyler Collins drew another walk to force home Beatty to cut the Bearcats' deficit to 5-2. Kossina stepped up next and ripped a two-run single to right field to bring McKendree within 5-4. Collins eventually scored on a double-play grounder to tie the game.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Kline and Beatty drew consecutive walks to start the winning rally. Hobson stepped up next and drilled a 2-2 pitch down the right-field line to bring home Kline with the winning run.
For the third time in as many outings, junior right-hander Jon Trampe (Metro East Lutheran) earned the win in relief for McKendree. Trampe pitched the final two innings for the Bearcats, giving up just one hit with one strikeout to push his record to 3-0 on the year.