Western Illinois Wins Exciting Season Finale
Courtesy: Western Illinois Athletics  
Release: Thursday 05/19/2012
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BROOKINGS, S.D. - Western Illinois baseball (17-35-1, 7-17) overcame five errors to score seven runs in the final three innings to defeat South Dakota State (18-33-1, 7-14), 11-7, giving Western a series split on Saturday afternoon (May 19).

Alexander Zarate (2-3) went 6.2 innings in relief to pick up the win. Dan Dispensa went 3-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored. Ryan Cowhey turned in a 3-for-4 performance with three RBI. Also driving in runs were Rich Mascheri and Mark Garton.

Jackrabbits' starter Adam Bray's solid performance was wasted as Austin Busse (2-6) was saddled with the loss after going 1.2 innings and allowing six earned runs.

South Dakota State ended Western's four-game streak of scoring first with four runs on four hits and one Leatherneck error in the bottom of the first.

Following consecutive Jackrabbit errors in the top of the second, Dispensa smacked a single through the middle to plate Tom Lilja. Another SDSU fielding error loaded the bases for Garton who grounded into a double play but a run did score to cut SDSU's lead in half before Cowhey singled through the left side to bring Western within one, 4-3. Mascheri tied the game at 4-4 with an RBI double down the left field line.

The Jacks regained the lead in the bottom of the second, 5-4, with an RBI single into left from Aaron Machbitz forcing head coach Mike Villano to summon Zarate from the bullpen to replace Nick Smith.

The action settled as both teams traded scoreless innings in the third and fourth innings.

A fielder's choice followed by a Leatherneck error with a runner on third in the bottom of the fifth allowed the Jackrabbits to tack on to their lead, 6-4.

A solo home run from Cowhey in the seventh, which wrapped around the right field foul pole, brought Western within one, 6-5. The blast chased starter Bray out the game and was replaced by Deon Entringer.

Two errors and one hit in the bottom of the seventh allowed SDSU to take a 7-5 lead.

Marcuzzo's second double in the eighth put runners on second and third with no outs. Dispensa tied the game, 7-7, with a two-run single to right. Garton gave the Leathernecks its first lead with a single to right. The rally continued with Cowhey's single up the middle to plate Kedroski and extend the lead to 9-7.

Dispensa stretched Western's lead to 11-7 with a two-run single in the ninth.

The seniors, Zarate, Chris Macek and Gabe Long collected one out apiece to secure the victory and earn the series split.

Western failed to qualify for The Summit League Championship, which will take place in Tulsa, Okla. on May 24-26, where the top four teams will compete for the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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