McPherson– For the third game in a row, the Tigers squared off against one of the best teams in the nation, gave everything they had, but came up a couple of runs shy. The Texas Wesleyan University Rams took games one and two on Friday 13-11 and 5-3. They completed the series sweep over the Tigers, winning Saturday's 9 inning game, 8-6.
The conditions were completely different from Friday and Saturday. Friday, the temps were in the mid to upper 60s with winds blowing out. Things changed drastically over night with temps dropping 10 to 15 degrees and the winds switched directions, giving Saturday's game a different feel. On Friday, the long ball took center stage, with the Rams recording five home runs and the Tigers one. On Saturday, the north east wind negated the long ball, so both teams played a lot more small ball.
The pitchers and defenses were on display in the first two innings of game three. Neither offense was able to get anything going, both putting up a pair of zeros on the board through two innings. Things changed in the third when the Rams broke the scoreless tie with a pair of runs. They added five more in the fourth to take a commanding 7-0 lead at the midway point of the game. Both teams went scoreless in the fifth, but the Rams extended their lead to 8-0 with a solo run in the top of the 6th. The Tigers finally got to the Rams' starting pitcher in the bottom of the sixth. They put up a five spot in the inning to get back to within striking distance.
The Tigers kept the Rams off the board the final three innings, giving their offense a chance to come back. They picked up a sixth run in the bottom of the eighth to cut the Rams' lead to 8-6. In the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers got two runners on, and brought the winning run to the plate with two outs. Unfortunately, like they did twice on Friday, they failed to get the key hit when they needed it, and their rally attempt fell short.
Landon Stevens got the start and took the loss for the Tigers. He pitched the first five innings, giving up six runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and six walks. He was replaced in the six by freshman Aydan Rolph. Rolph came out of the pen, and worked the final four innings, allowing just one run on one hit.
The Tiger offense got off to a slow start, but finished the game with six runs on 10 hits, outhitting the Rams 10-8. Jared Jones broke out of a nearly month long slump to lead the Tigers with two hits in four trips to the plate. He had a single and a double, scored two runs and drove in another. Nate Patterson and Troy Carrigan also had multiple hits for the Tigers, each going 2-for-5.
Next up for the Tigers is the third installment of a 4-game intracity series against the Mac College Bulldogs on Tuesday. This time the series shifts to the Bulldogs' brand new home field, that they finished just prior to the start of this season. The Bulldogs took the first two games of the series on the Tigers' home field, but the Tigers are hoping to return the favor this time around. First pitch is slated to be thrown at 6 pm on Tuesday.