GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Iowa Western used a four-run ninth inning Wednesday night to overtake Walters State (Tenn.) 11-8 in the NJCAA World Series at Sam Suplizio Field.
The win leaves Iowa Western as the only unbeaten team left in the double-elimination tournament. The Reivers face Navarro (Texas) at 8:30 p.m. CDT Thursday and would reach the championship game with a win.
Walters mistakes in the ninth inning – two hit batters, two wild pitches and an outfield error – opened the door for the Reivers.
Senators reliever Cody Davidson hit Greg Bennett with a pitch to lead off the inning, and a wild pitch moved him to second. Isaiah Peterson walked, and another wild pitch moved the runners to second and third with Ross Indlecoffer at the plate. He was hit by a pitch, loading the bases and ending Davidson’s night.
Reiver pinch-hitter Javon Mason greeted new pitcher Gage Gillian with a base hit to right, scoring Bennett. Right fielder Braydon Runion’s error scored Peterson to make it 9-8.
Pinch-hitter Jaden Rolffs singled to score Indlecoffer, and Caleb Balgaard’s sacrifice fly to right made it 11-8.
Reiver closer Trystan Kimmel retired the Senators in order in the bottom of the ninth.
The Reivers knocked out Walters starter Corey Stone after just one-third of an inning to take a 2-0 first-inning lead. Gibson Krzeminski hit an RBI double, moved to third when Ronald Sweeny III was hit by a pitch and scored on Peterson’s infield hit.
But Walters scored five two-out runs in the third inning to take the lead, helped by a pair of Reiver miscues. Drew Haynie reached on Indlecoffer’s error, then scored on Colin Kasperbauer’s bobble. After Runion doubled in another run, Brayden Combs blasted a three-run homer to make it 5-3. Jayden Kruse relieved Simpson and got a groundout to end the inning.
Walters went up 8-3 in the fourth with another two-out rally, sparked by Bryce Hodge’s two-run homer.
At that point, reliever Alex Firsdon came in for IWCC and held Walters State for 3 2/3 innings.
“Firsdon was the guy who gave us a chance to get back into the game,” Reiver coach Marc Rardin said on the postgame radio show.
The Reivers closed it to 8-6 in the sixth, with the big hit Bennett’s two-run double.
Indlecoffer’s solo home run just inside the left-field foul pole cut it to 8-7 in the seventh.