After splitting a pair of games on Saturday with the University of St. Mary Spires, the McPherson College baseball team took the series 2-1 by winning game three on Sunday, 11-10.
The series finale was a slugfest with runs by both teams being scored in bunches. In the end, the Bulldogs were able to hold on, but the Spires certainly made things interesting down the stretch. USM took an early lead over the Bulldogs with a solo run in the bottom of the first. Half an inning later, the Bulldogs responded with a run of their own to tie the game. In their next at bat, the Bulldog took the lead, putting up three runs in the inning to lead 4-1. In the bottom of the third, the Spires cut the deficit in half, 4-2, with another single run.
The Bulldogs came up to bat in the top of the fourth and put up four more runs to extend their lead to 8-2. After the Spires scored one in their half of the fourth, the Bulldogs added two more runs in the fifth to lead 10-3, and looked like they had the game in the bag. No lead is safe in NAIA baseball, and in the sixth inning, the Spires began to make their come back. They scored two runs in the sixth, and then added three more in the seventh to trim the Bulldog lead to 10-8. The Bulldogs stopped the bleeding and picked up a run in the eighth, which would turn out to be a pivotal run. They were unable to add to their lead in the top of the ninth, so they headed into the bottom of the final inning with a slim three-run lead, 11-8. The Spires scored two runs in the ninth and had the tying run at third base, and the winning run on second before Jarrod Manick was able to strike out the final hitter to end the game.
The Bulldogs used four pitchers in Saturday's win over the Spires, starting with Dylan Marble. Marble worked the first four and a third, allowing three runs on eight hits with one strikeout and two walks. Next up was Brett Carter, who got the final two outs of the fifth and worked all of the sixth. He finished with two runs on three hits with three strikeouts and no walks. In the seventh, Tyler Dunn came out of the bullpen. He allowed three runs on two hits and was lifted without recording an out. That left it up to Manick, who pitched the final three innings and allowed two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and three free passes. Manick was credited with a save, his eighth of the season, and a new Bulldog single season record. Carter was awarded the win.
On offense, the Bulldogs pushed across 11 runs on 12 hits, a third of them going for extra bases. Three Bulldogs had multiple hits, including Trevor Johnson, 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and five driven in; McCoy Pearce, 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored; and Justin Risdall, 2-for-4 with a single, a home run, two runs scored and two RBI.
Bulldog head coach, Bryan Moses, commented on the win saying, "I thought St Mary fought their tails off but our guys were able to stay focused under pressure which led to us getting this win, and the series win."
With the win, the Bulldogs are now 27-11 overall, and 16-7 in the KCAC. They will be back in action on Wednesday when they head up to Salina to finish a series with Kansas Wesleyan University that was started back in February. The Bulldogs won the first two games before weather forced the two teams to postpone the series finale. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.