The Culver-Stockton College baseball team held off a furious Evangel University rally in the ninth inning to claim a 14-13 victory in the first round of the Heart of America Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament at US Baseball Park in Ozarks, Mo.
The Wildcats (26-27), who are seeded eighth, advance to the double elimination portion of the tournament where they will play either top seeded Clarke University or second-seeded Central Methodist University on Friday, May 5. Evangel, the ninth seed, ends its season at 27-24.
Leading 10-8 entering the ninth inning, C-SC plated four runs in the top of the frame to seemingly put the game away at 14-8. However, the Crusaders scored five times on four hits and an error, and had the tying run at second base when the game ended.
Alex Satunas led the Wildcat 14-hit attack by going 4-for-5 with a double and two runs batted in. Edward Madera added two hits and four RBI's, while Matt Kuhl registered two hits and three runs batted in. C-SC had five players record multiple hit games and three players garner multiple RBI games. Kevin Cali recorded two hits in the game and scored a team-best four times. Robin Felix was the fifth player for the Wildcats to have two hits in the game.
Luis Vilchez, who threw a no-hitter in his last outing, earned the victory for the Wildcats. He went 8-plus innings, allowing 11 runs (seven earned) on 14 hits. Vilchez, now 7-4 on the season, walked two, struck out five and hit two batters. Tyler Smith entered the game in the ninth and allowed two runs on two hits and a walk but was able to get two strikeouts and a groundball out to end the game.