Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Mustangs eye spot at nationals


OZARK, Mo. - Believe it or not, the Mount Mercy baseball team is one  victory away from reaching the NAIA national tournament.

The Mustangs scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday  to clip 17th-ranked Central Methodist University, 2-1, in an  elimination game at the Heart of America Conference tournament at US  Baseball Park.

Mount Mercy (29-22) will face Clarke University (27-20) in the losers  bracket finals Monday at 10 a.m., with the winner advancing to the  conference finals against Baker at 1:30 p.m. Monday and clinching a  spot in the national tournament.

The Heart of America Conference gets two spots in the national  tournament this year, and the two berths go to the conference  tournament champion and the tournament runnerup.

Mount Mercy has won three straight elimination games at the tournament  and Sunday's game was a doozy. The Mustangs trailed, 1-0, heading into  the bottom of the ninth and scored two runs without a base hit.

Corbin Day was hit by a pitch with one out and Austin Hilpipre came in  to run for Day. Chili Moseley reached on a walk and Evan Jackson was  hit by a pitch, loading the bases with one out.

Nick Sueppel hit into a fielder's choice for the second out, but  Hilipre scored to tie the game 1-1. Central Methodist claimed Jackson  interfered with their fielder who was trying to turn a double play to  end the game, but the umpires ruled otherwise.

If the umpires had ruled in CMU's favor, the Mustangs would have lost  the game 1-0 on the double play. Instead, the game was tied with  runners at first and third with two outs.

Moseley then scored the game-winning run on a short passed ball on a  bang-bang play at the plate for the 2-1 victory.

Mount Mercy had to win a play-in game at the tournament Wednesday to  reach the quarterfinals as the No. 7 seed. The Mustangs lost to  Central Methodist, 5-4, in extra inning in the quarterfinals, but  since then the Mustangs have won three straight elimination games  against Peru State, MidAmerica Nazarene and Central Methodist to reach  the Final 3.

Mount Mercy has a 4-1 record at the tournament and would have to win  three more games to capture the title, but a victory over Clarke in  the losers bracket finals will get them to nationals.

Dylan Campbell (8-4) pitched a sensational game for Mount Mercy  Sunday. He pitched all nine innings, allowing just one unearned run on  four hits. Campbell also tossed seven shutout innings on Wednesday,  which means he's allowed one unearned run in 16 innings at the  tournament.

Jackson and Collin Shrader had two hits for the Mustangs Sunday.

Central Methodist 000 010 000 - 1 4 0
Mount Mercy         000 000 002 - 2 7 1

Pena, Gray (4), Malan (6), Moore (8), Martinez (9) and McCay. Campbell  and Day. W - Campbell (8-4). L - Martinez. SB - Oreskovich, Olutunde.  SH - Day, Jackson.


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