MCPHERSON, Kan. – Sterling College used a 12 run fourth inning to secure its second straight KCAC Regular Season Championship. Daniel Hall, Joe Battaglia, and Andrew Clark led the way, each hitting three or more RBIs in the game as Sterling took three of four games in their series against McPherson College to clinch a share of the KCAC Championship. Due to weather induced field conditions in Sterling, all four games were played in McPherson.
Matt Jackson (6-0, 4.33 ERA) got the start for Sterling, but struggled. Jackson gave up four runs, all earned, in just 1.2 innings pitched on three hits and three walks. Head Coach Adrian Dinkel went to Matt Eshleman (2-1, 4.21 ERA) out of the bullpen in what was set up to be a rare long relief appearance for the southpaw side-armer.
Eshleman's outing lasted shorter than Jackson's as Eshleman left in the fourth inning with the Warriors trailing McPherson 8-4. In his outing, Eshleman gave up four runs, all earned, on four hits and two walks in just 1.1 innings of work. With the Warrior's championship in jeopardy, Coach Dinkel turned to Wesley Tramble (7-1, 3.81 ERA).
Tramble would give up just one hit in the remaining 4.0 innings of work and shut out the Bulldogs the rest of the way. With Tramble cruising on the mound, the Warrior offense heated up.
Sterling responded with 12 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 16-8 lead. The Warriors added two insurance runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth, winning by the 11 run margin of 19-8.
The four, five and six spots in the lineup were huge for Sterling, going a combined nine for 10 with nine RBIs and nine runs scored. Both Battaglia (the four hole hitter) and Clark (the five hole hitter) had perfect days at the plate. Battaglia went four for four with a homerun, three RBIs, and three runs scored while Clark went three for three with a homerun, three RBIs, and four runs scored. Luke Miller (the six hole hitter) went two for three with a homerun, two RBIs, and two runs scored.
Hall led Sterling in RBIs, going two for three with four RBIs and two runs scored. Joe Williams, Anthony Stewart, and Jared Forbush had two RBIs while Ian Josh had one RBI. Elijah Briseno was the only Warrior in the starting lineup without an RBI, but went one for two and scored twice.
Sterling finishes it KCAC Championship Regular Season with a record of 42-12, 24-4 in the KCAC. The Warriors split the KCAC Championship with Tabor College. Sterling will be the second seed in the KCAC Championship Tournament due to tiebreaker scenarios and will play on Wednesday at 11:00 am at Hobbart-Detter Stadium in Hutchinson, Kan. against the third seeded Bethany College Swedes.