LEBANON, Ill. – Missouri S&T used three big offensive innings Thursday afternoon – including one to rally from a deficit in its final turn at the plate – to record a sweep over McKendree in a non-conference doubleheader by scores of 13-6 and 4-2.
The Miners entered the seventh inning of game two trailing by a run, but put together a three-run rally to take the lead and held on to complete the sweep and extend their winning streak to a season-high four games.
In the opener, the Miners (8-9) raced out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning as they cranked out six consecutive hits after the first two batters were retired. The rally started when Kaleb Reid (Smithville, MO/Smithville) reached on an infield single, which was followed by hits off the bats of Drew Aldana (El Paso, TX/JM Hanks) and Nathan Volkmann (Liberty, MO/Liberty) to bring home the first run.
Zach Wiegand (Coppell, TX/Parish Episcopal) followed with a single to score Aldana, then Cameron Burk (Nacogdoches, TX/Cushing) and Matt Knickerbocker (Bayfield, CO/Bayfield) had RBI singles to complete the four-run uprising.
The Miners added to their lead with single runs in the third on an RBI single by Aldana and in the fourth when Burk scored on a hit by Knickerbocker before McKendree (4-13) got on the scoreboard on Levi Brening's home run in the bottom half of the inning.
S&T busted the contest open in the sixth as it exploded for seven runs and like in the second, the uprising all started with two outs.
Knickerbocker started the rally with a hit and a stolen base, preceding a run-scoring double by Lucas Swindle (Weldon Spring, MO/Lutheran-St. Charles). Moments later, Matt Gruse (Neenah, WI/Neenah) belted a two-run homer to give S&T a 9-2 lead. The Miners added four more runs on a two-run double by Aldana and RBI hits from Volkmann and Wiegand.
Missouri S&T outhit McKendree 19-11 in the opener, with Knickerbocker, Gruse and Aldana all having three hits apiece. Dan Borek (Greenville, WI/Hortonville) got the win on the hill as he allowed six hits in his seven-inning outing.
S&T's offense was stifled for much of the second game – its only run over the first six innings came when Burk scored on a balk in the second – but some good at-bats in the seventh allowed it to take the lead.
McKendree had grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fourth on back-to-back run-scoring doubles by Andrew Aydt and Drew Reich – the only two hits allowed by S&T starter Trent Green (Perryville, MO/Perryville) in his five innings of work -- and took that advantage into the seventh before the Miners were able to string together the go-ahead rally.
With one out, Aldana drew a walk and pinch-hitter Connor Forsythe doubled to chase starter Jack Strieker. Facing reliever Connor Gillies, Wiegand fell behind 0-2 in the count, but worked his way back to a full count and then reached on an infield hit to score Aldana with the tying run.
Burk followed with a ground ball that allowed Forsythe to cross the plate with the go-ahead run, then Reid delivered an RBI single to give the Miners some insurance heading into the bottom of the seventh.
The Bearcats got two runners on base in their half of the seventh, but Luke Marcheschi (Bloomington, IL/Central Catholic) got a pair of ground ball outs to preserve the win for reliever Matthew Lamb(Doniphan, NE/Grand Island).
S&T outhit McKendree 6-5 in the nightcap.
The Miners and Bearcats will play another doubleheader Sunday in Lebanon starting at 1 p.