By: Sam Goetzinger
On Thursday evening the Huskies baseball team made the trek to Warrensburg, Missouri for the opening round of 2019 NCAA Central Region Tournament. SCSU entered the tournament as the #3 seed after an impressive regular season performance. They would be matched with a familiar foe and the #6 seeded University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos in the opening round.
All action was quiet for the first three innings as no team was able to muster a run past the dominant pitching of both Senior Dominic Austing for SCSU and Kansas State transfer Gabe Littlejim from UCO. In the bottom of the fourth the Husky bats came alive sparking three runs thanks to an Aaron Hammann double, followed by a base hit from Ethan Ibarra. They would be driven home by a huge triple from Arizona native Najee Gaskins. Another Arizona native Lenny Walker put the third run on the board driving in Gaskins with a single up the middle. The fifth frame saw three up and three down from both sides. But, in the sixth the Broncho’s were able to grab a run back cutting the St. Cloud State lead to just two. Back to back walks allowed by Austing would be all he would throw in the seventh frame and trusty Shannon Ahern was called in relief. Austing finished his day going six innings strong with five strikeouts, four walks, and one unearned run. Ahern was solid in his relief performance helping the Huskies hold a 3-1 lead going into the ninth.
Senior Matt Butler was on the mound to try and close out the ballgame for the Cardinal and Black. But as they say, a two-run lead is one of the most dangerous in baseball and UCO showed The Huskies why. The Broncho’s put up 3 runs in the top of the ninth to complete the comeback with four unanswered runs and a 4-3 lead going into the final half inning. Unfortunately, St. Cloud State was unable to partake in a comeback of their own going three up and three down to close the game.
With the loss in the first round, the Huskies are not done as they will take on #7 seeded Missouri Southern State after they were defeated by the #2 seed Central Missouri Mules. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 P.M. in Warrensburg. Thomas Breach will have the call from Missouri on the KVSC Sports Stream.