From Staff reports
EMPORIA, Kan. – The Northeastern State baseball team earned an MIAA split at Emporia State Tuesday afternoon at Trusler Sports Complex.
The Hornets (27-17, 25-14) took the first contest 3-2, while the RiverHawks (26-20, 24-19 MIAA) secured the series finale 6-1.
NSU junior Kyle Singleton blasted three home runs in the second game of the series. This was the second time this season a member of NSU hit three in a single game. Junior Cody Robinson accomplished the feat on Feb. 24 at Truman State.
Robinson leads the nation with 16 long balls this season, and Singleton is now tied for second with 14. The duo has combined to hit more homers than every team in the nation outside of the top 31 in the national standings.
The RiverHawks lead the nation in home runs this year with 67, which is 14 clear of the team in second place (Missouri Western State has 53).
Northeastern State is also sixth in the current MIAA standings, and the split with ESU was enough to clinch a spot in the first round of the 2013 MIAA Championship.
The RiverHawks will travel to Jefferson City, Mo., this weekend for the final three games of the regular season. The first game of the NSU-Lincoln series will begin at 1 p.m. April 27.
ESU 3, NSU 2 (first game)
The Hornets secured the first game on the strength of a few well-timed hits.
The home side struck in the first when an Eric Dawson single plated Aaron Rea. Northeastern State drew even in the third when senior Chad Davidson scored following a leadoff triple.
Single marks in the fourth and fifth innings were enough to give Emporia State the opening-game victory, as NSU would only be able to respond with a lone run in the top of the sixth.
Sophomore T.J. Foster (3-1) suffered his first loss on the mound. He threw the first 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits. Senior Craig George tossed the final 1.2 frames, allowing just one hit and no runs.
Davidson finished the game 3-for-3 at the plate. Senior Trent Wilkins was 2-for-3 with a run scored. The RiverHawks outhit the Hornets 7-6.
NSU 6, ESU 1 (second game)
Singleton took the game over with his bat, hitting a trifecta of home runs to send his team to the MIAA Championship first round.
He finished 4-for-4 with four runs batted in and three runs scored. NSU had just six hits in the entire game, with the other two coming from Wilkins (who also scored twice) and sophomore David Weber.
NSU used four senior pitchers, and they combined to allow just one run on seven hits, while striking out 10. Brandon Compton started the contest on the mound and threw the first two innings.
Frank Sprick tossed the next two frames and only gave up one hit, while striking out two. George threw the next three innings and did not allow a hit or a run, while also fanning two. Trevor Walch pitched the last two frames and shut the door on the Hornets. Five of his six outs recorded were by way of strike out, and he only gave up two non-threatening hits.