Taylor Scores Dramatic Win Before Losing to Seventh-Ranked Eagles
UPLAND, Ind. – A misplayed fly ball opened the door for Taylor and a walk-off single to center field off the bat of Sam Wiese capped a thrilling ninth-inning comeback for the Trojans in a 2-1 win over Northwestern to begin Monday’s NAIA Baseball Championship Opening Round.
The opener of the Upland Bracket was the lone pitching duel of the afternoon, as the Trojans and Red Raiders battled into the bottom of the ninth with only one run on the scoreboard. Taylor mustered only four hits through the first eight frames, seeing multiple deep fly balls knocked down by the wind, while Northwestern had a pair of infield singles and one ball that cut through the win to clear the fence for a solo homer.
Nathan Targgart delivered a one-out single to put the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth, before Jonathan Foster entered as a pinch runner and stole second base to advance into scoring position.
Tanner Watson followed and lifted another deep fly ball to the warning track in left that appeared to be yet another long out for the Trojans, before ricocheting off the glove of the Red Raider fielder and rolling toward center field. Murphy raced around to score and Watson motored into third on the game-tying, three-base fielding blunder.
Taylor wasted no time taking full advantage of the opportunity, as Wiese drove a one-two offering into center field to plate Watson and send TU to the 2-1 victory.
Targgart and Wiese accounted for four of Taylor’s six hits, with Targgart doubling in the fourth to tie Ryne Otis (2009-2012) for TU’s record with 58 career doubles. Josh Lane also doubled and Brett Lawson singled to account for TU’s six hits.
The Trojans used three hurlers in the contest, with Matt Patton, Rob Fox and Kole Barkhaus combining for a three-hit effort, striking out eight and limiting Northwestern to just one tally.
Patton went 5.2 innings and allowed one run on two hits, before Fox retired his only foe. Barkhaus (3-1) fanned five over the final three frames and did not allow a run to notch the win.
TU’s fifth Opening Round win since 2009 advanced the Trojans into the night contest against top-seeded and No. 7 Oklahoma Wesleyan, where the Eagles lived up to the hype in a 13-2 defeat of the Trojans.
Oklahoma Wesleyan pounded out 16 hits, with six going for extra-bases, while Taylor picked up 11 hits.
Watson, Jared Adkins and Andrew Kennedy each had two hits, with Kennedy doubling and Adkins scoring one run and driving in another.
Taylor (44-15) will play again on Tuesday night at 7:30 pm against the winner of Tuesday’s noon contest between Northwestern and Cumberland. The middle game will feature Oklahoma Wesleyan and Freed-Hardeman at 3:30 pm.