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Baseball - Wed, May. 2, 2012
PEOSTA, IOWA - The Iowa Wesleyan College baseball team rode highs and lows throughout the day but came out on highs when it counted to win twice and announce itself as a factor on the first day of the Midwest Collegiate Conference Baseball Tournament at A.J. Spiegel Park.

The fourth-seeded Tigers defeated No. 5 seed William Penn University 13-10 in ten innings to kick off the day, getting a three-run home run from Corey Amerson (Sr.-Mount Pleasant, Texas) in the top of the 10th inning to advance to a matchup later in the evening against top seeded St. Ambrose University. There IWC came out ahead in another wild game, defeating the Fighting Bees 7-6 after scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth to come from behind to win.

With the wins Iowa Wesleyan (23-29 overall) moves into Game 5 of the tourney Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. against No. 2 seed Grand View University. The winner moves on to play for the tournament championship and in the double-elimination format will be one win away from winning the tourney and the MCC's automatic berth to the NAIA Baseball National Championships.

The Tigers hit the ball well and withstood some pitching adventures to win both of their games. IWC rebounded after blowing a six-run lead in the bottom of the ninth in the opener, and fought back twice to defeat the MCC regular season champions despite Wesleyan pitchers throwing six wild pitches and allowing four St. Ambrose runs to score in one inning without a single hit.

Marco Prieto (Sr.-Toa Baja, Puerto Rico) drove in the winning run against against St. Ambrose (24-25 overall), singling with the bases loaded and one out to score Michael Mendoza (Sr.-San Gabriel, Calif.). Prieto's game-winning hit came after Amerson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to drive in the tying run as the Tigers came back from a 6-5 deficit heading into the bottom of the ninth.

The comeback capped a back-and-forth game in which IWC pulled out to a 2-0 lead but lost it when SAU scored four times in the fourth, as Erik Allen (Sr.-Monrovia, Calif.) suddenly lost his control and hit one batter and walked four straight in a four-run inning in which the Fighting Bees did not record a hit. The Tigers came back to take a 5-4 lead after three runs in the fifth inning, but the Bees battled back with two in the top of the eighth to take the lead again before the Tigers' final inning heroics.

Iowa Wesleyan never trailed in the first game and totaled 22 hits, including huge performances at the plate by Todd Christensen (Sr.-Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Bobby Lloyd (Sr.-Coalinga, Calif.), who combined for nine hits, including three singles, a double and a triple by Christensen. The Tigers still needed to do extra work, though, after William Penn (20-25 overall) came back from a 10-4 deficit in the ninth inning.

The Statesmen scored six times in the ninth, but Wesleyan put runners at first and second with one out in the ensuing top of the 10th inning when Penn made a pitching change. Amerson greeted WPU reliever Brad McGuire on his first pitch, unloading a three-run homer to left field to put IWC ahead, and Josh Kwasny (Jr.-Mokena, Ill.) closed the door in the tenth for his first save and his first of two key pitching performances on the day. Kwasny also picked up the win in relief in the second game, pitching the final two innings and getting the win.

Christensen led the Tigers with six hits over the two games. Amerson finished with three hits and five RBIs on the day, while Drew Koeppel (Sr.-Bartonville, Ill.) had five hits, including four in the second game. Darryl Sexton (Jr.-Clinton, Iowa) got the win in the opener in relief of Jacob Sanchez (Sr.-Brawley, Calif.), who pitched eight innings and allowed nine hits and eight runs (six earned) while striking out eight.

Wednesday's game against Grand View will again include a live audio broadcast online at http://www.iwc.edu/onlinemedia.

Box score IWC 13 WPU 10 (10 inn.)
Box score IWC 7 SAU 6
MCC Baseball Tournament Bracket