WAYNE – The Wayne State College baseball team is 10 games into the year, all on the road, broken down into three sets of games. Following a few indoor practices, the team was back out at the Pete Chapman Baseball Complex Thursday.
WSC, 4-6 on the year, has won two of their last three games from US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week. The ‘Cats won the Newman University series (2-1) to open the season and dropped four games with Missouri S&T.
Three of Wayne State’s six losses have been decided by one run each.
Entering his third year at the helm as head coach, Alex Koch said the team has been able to get better each time out.
“We’ve kept talked about two-strike hitting,” said Koch. “Our two-strike approach hasn’t been as good. We need to put the ball in play, not strike out as much and tighten up our defense a little bit. We got a chance to be really good here once conference starts.”
Kirk Clark is the pitching coach, Zach Bayreuther is the Graduate Assistant (infielders/position players), John Roberts is a volunteer coach and Paul Eaton from Wakefield is helping the team out as well.
Wayne State College was selected eighth in the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll with 106 points. Senior third basemen Cody Jenkins and senior pitcher Bobby St. Pierre were tabbed as Wildcats to watch this season selected by the NSIC.
Junior Tanner Simons leads the team in hits (15), doubles (five), RBI’s (13) and the team’s lone triple while being tied for first in runs scored with 10.
Simons, who is in his third year with the program, is a first baseman but was all around the infield Thursday. He and the team are ready for conference play.
“Start it the right way and hopefully we do a little better this year in conference,” Simons added. “Make the conference tournament and try to make a run at the conference tournament.”
Simons also leads four positions players who have appeared in all 10 games with a .405 average while senior Tandon Dorn (injury) in just four games played is hitting .429 and slugging .857. Senior Bodie Cooper is the team leader in home runs with two.
On the mound, senior Keenan Breen is 1-0 while freshman Aiden Breedlove, freshman Hunter Wienhoff and senior Bobby St. Pierre are all 1-1. In five appearances on the mound, junior Kyle Kennebeck leads the team with a 1.17 ERA.
St. Pierre is a red-shirt senior right-handed pitcher who transferred from Madonna University in Michigan. He said the team just has to build on what they’ve been doing.
“I don’t think our record really shows how we’ve played every game.” St. Pierre mentioned. “I think we’re a team that battles and doesn’t give up outs, doesn’t give up on pitches and we’re just in the game till the last pitch.”
Both Breedlove and St. Pierre have struck out 12 batters and Weinhoff in four appearances, one start followed with 10 K’s.
Wayne State College will open their home schedule with the conference season getting underway this weekend. WSC will face Minot State University in a four-game series on Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19 in Wayne. Game times are set for Noon and 2 p.m. both days.
The Beavers have only played five games indoors, resulting in a 3-2 record.
Following a road, nine-inning, game with William Jewell on Sunday, March 26, WSC will be back in town with St. Cloud State on Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2 at Noon and 2 p.m. both days.
The Huskies are 9-3 when they open their NSIC schedule in Sioux Falls this weekend.