The No. 2-ranked Emporia State Hornets had their MIAA-record 35-game winning streak come to an end with a 5-3 setback to Central Missouri Friday night at Crane Stadium/Tompkins Field.
It is the Hornets’ first loss since dropping the opener of a doubleheader March 8 to Minnesota-Duluth, and first setback in MIAA play — ESU’s record slips to 42-4, 28-1 in the MIAA.
Down 5-1 going into the ninth inning, Emporia State started a rally with a leadoff double to right by senior LF Brian Majors. Senior RF Eric Shortell then cut the gap in half with a home run to left off of junior RHP Chris Matlock (3-2), who came in relief for UCM (31-12, 19-6 MIAA) with one out in the sixth inning.
Matlock settled down to strike out senior C Keith Hernandez, then threw out junior 2B Anthony Dreiling trying to bunt his way on board. Freshman 3B Kevin Wempe was hit by a pitch to bring the tying run to the plate in senior DH Nick Wolfe.
After working a full count to Wempe before hitting him with a pitch, Matlock needed just three pitches to get Wolfe swinging to end the game. He fanned five and walked two in 3 1/3 innings of work, allowing just the two hits and two runs in the ninth.
The Mules, defending MIAA regular season champions, never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a two-out RBI-single by senior 3B Iain Dykins.
ESU knotted the score in the top of the sixth when Wolfe led off the frame with a home run off of senior starting LHP Jared Potts. The Hornets had a chance for the lead, loading the bases with two outs before Matlock came on to force Hernandez into grounding back to the mound to end the threat.
Junior DH Mike Hallam led off the seventh with a solo homer off of starting junior LHP Tyler Applehans (9-1) to give Central Missouri back the lead, 2-1.
The Mules added three runs in the eighth off of senior RHP Daniel Waggoner â€" Dykins stroked a run-scoring double, then senior 1B Chris Brown drove home two more with a double of his own.
Applehans allowed only four hits in seven innings for Emporia State, fanning seven and walking one while allowing two earned runs. Potts played with fire for most of his five innings of work for the Mules, allowing just three hits and one earned run but walking seven and fanning seven.
Majors had two of ESU’s six hits in four at bats. Senior 2B Brian McBryde joined Dykins in going 2-for-4, scoring two runs.