The Pittsburg State Gorillas desperately needed a win.
The Gorillas began a seven-game road stretch 1-4 against Emporia State and Fort Hays, with two games Tuesday against third place Central Oklahoma in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
Pitt State (14-10, 11-9 MIAA, 5-6 road) won the opener 11-7 with four runs in the seventh and blitzed the Bronchos 15-1 in the second game behind a blistering pitching performance and a couple big offensive innings.
In the first game, Central Oklahoma led 3-0 and 6-2 at different junctions.
Broncho No. 7 and No. 9 hitters Cesar Wong (a Panama City, Panama native who enjoys ping pong and played on Latin America’s 2005 Junior League World Series championship team) and Cameron Mavroulis (Saginaw, Texas native who enjoys snowboarding) helped stake Central to its early lead.
With the Bronchos already up 1-0, Wong reached on an infield single in the second and scored on a Mavroulis RBI single after Jordan Mullin sacrificed Wong over 90 feet. Mavroulis scored on a Matt Malloy (whose grandfather Robert played in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds) RBI double.
Pitt State did not start up its offense until the third. With one down, Austin Lastimado singled and Ryan Ventura reached on an error by shortstop Wong.
That brought up Tory Stoffregen, the MIAA’s stolen bases leader and No. 2 man in doubles entering Tuesday. Stoffregen laced a double, his 12th of the season, down the right field line to score Lastimado and Ventura.
The Wong-Mavroulis middle infield bottom-of-the-order duo struck again in the bottom of the third. Wong singled and scored on a Mavroulis double; Mavroulis scored on an Eric Hansen wild pitch. Hansen lost his control in the third, a pitcher who previously walked three in 18.2 innings. Hansen walked five in 2.2 innings Wednesday.
Lastimado hit a two-run double in the fourth to draw the Gorillas to 6-4.
In the fifth, Pitt State took its first lead on a three-run inning. Stoffregen led off with a single, Evan Thomas doubled home Stoffregen and Brad Foss doubled Thomas over to third. Central Oklahoma reliever Jamie McClure lost his control and his wild pitch advanced Foss to third and scored Thomas. Foss scored the go-ahead run on a Ryan Bilovesky groundout to the first baseman.
Central Oklahoma tied it up on a Jared Wright solo home run. Wright entered the contest fourth in the MIAA with eight homers.
Neither team scored in the sixth, the only scoreless inning of the game.
Central Oklahoma brought in reliever Mikey Beltran for the seventh.
Getting that leadoff hitter on so often proves crucial in winning baseball games and Bilovesky led off the seventh with a walk.
Tanner Carpenter, brought in for Cody Ball, bunted a single and Beltran compounded matters with a throwing error, moving both Carpenter and Bilovesky into scoring position. Central Oklahoma intentionally walked Jacoby Martin to load the bases with no outs.
Page 2 of 3 - This move worked at first, since Lastimado popped out. However, the Gorillas scored four runs on an infield single, a bases-loaded walk, a sacrifice fly and a throwing error by the center fielder.
The Gorillas brought in closer James Fitzgearlds for the last frame and he induced slugger Wright into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Almost nothing in baseball proves more of a momentum swing than clinching a win by turning a double play.
Pitt State senior ace Matt Stalcup feasted on that momentum in epic fashion.
Stalcup fanned the first nine Central Oklahoma batters he faced, three straight innings of three up, three down via the strikeout.
Tyler Crabtree looking. Robbie Hoffman swinging. Matt Malloy swinging. Jared Wright swinging. Matt Johnson swinging. Wacey Henderson swinging. Eric Garza looking. Cesar Wong looking. Cameron Mavroulis swinging.
Stalcup pitched four innings of no-hit ball and matched his personal best 12 strikeouts after five.
In the sixth, Stalcup tied the school record of 13 strikeouts when he fanned Mavroulis to end the inning. Travis Shaffer struck out 13 in 1992 and Brett Parsons matched that milestone in 2002.
Two batters after Tyler Crabtree homered to put Central Oklahoma on the board, Stalcup broke the school record by sitting down Malloy swinging. Stalcup ended the seventh and the game with 15 strikeouts.
Stalcup brought his seasonal Ks to 54 in 32.1 innings pitched.
Meanwhile, the Pitt State offense scored more runs than necessary on a two-run homer by Bilovesky and a three-run homer by Stoffregen.
Several Gorillas enjoyed fantastic offensive days.
Stoffregen went 5-for-7 with one home run, one double and seven RBI and his three stolen bases in the second game upped his season total to 12.
Brad Foss went 5-9 with four hits in the second game, taking his seasonal batting average above .400 (.411).
Bilovesky went 3-7 with a homer and four RBI.
On the season, three Gorillas have driven in at least 25 runs (Thomas 28, Bilovesky 26, Stoffregen 25) and five have scored at least 20 (Ventura 28, Stoffregen 27, Bilovesky 23, Thomas 22, Foss 21).
This was the first meeting on the diamond between the schools in over 25 years and Pitt State narrows the Central Oklahoma series edge to 10-4.
Pitt State returns home Friday for the start of a three-game series against Truman State.
Pittsburg State 11, Central Oklahoma 7 (7 innings)
PSU 002 230 4 — 11 14 1
UCO 123 010 0 — 7 8 3
Eric Hansen, Ryan McKay (3), Jake Stevenson (5), George Brandecker (6), James Fitzgearlds (7) and Jacoby Martin. Kylar Trumbia, Jamie McClure (4), Hunter Wood (6), Mikel Beltran (7) and Ryan Stoup. WP: Brandecker (2-1). LP: Beltran. E: Austin Lastimado; Cesar Wong, Jordan Mullin, Beltran. 2B: Tory Stoffregen, Lastimado, Evan Thomas, Brad Foss; Tyler Crabtree, Matt Malloy, Cameron Mavroulis. HR: Jared Wright. SF: Thomas; Ross Rose. SH: Stoffregen; Mullin. CS: Stoffregen, Martin. HBP: Crabtree 2, Mavroulis.
Page 3 of 3 - Game Two
Pittsburg State 15, Central Oklahoma 1 (7 innings)
PSU 120 302 7 — 15 14 0
UCO 000 000 1 — 1 2 3
Matt Stalcup and Ian Robinson. Will Kilpatrick, Joe Hollowell (2), Alex Coplan (6), Taylor Pierce (7), Michael Hefferan (7) and Eric Garza. WP: Stalcup (3-2). LP: Kilpatrick (2-1). E: Matt Johnson, Garza, C. Crockett. 2B: Evan Thomas 2, Jacoby Martin. HR: Ryan Bilovesky, Tory Stoffregen; Tyler Crabtree. SH: Thomas, Luke Bordewick. SB: Stoffregen 3. CS: Jared Wright. HBP: Austin Lastimado; Dilon Argo, Jordan Mullin.