Wartburg College scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth to defeat Buena Vista University 4-3 in an elimination game at the Iowa Conference Baseball Tournament Saturday. The Beavers end their season at 18-22-1.
Wartburg took a 2-0 lead into the eighth inning when Buena Vista got two players on base courtesy of a single and error. Mike Koenecke then launched a home run over the right field fence at Veteran's Stadium to put BVU on top 3-2.
The Beavers reloaded the bases with one out, but Marc Goeders grounded into a double play to end the scoring threat.
Wartburg tied the game in the eighth inning when Brian Greiner drew a two-out walk off of Buena Vista starter Mike Soenen. Chris Robertson tripled him home to deadlock the game 3-3.
Buena Vista went quietly in the top of the ninth. Reliever Zach Habben got the first Knight batter out in the ninth. A Brian Ricken error allowed Aaron Port to reach base. Port stole second and advanced to third on a Marc Numedahl groundout. Tom Kersbergen, who was playing for Casey Pauli who was ejected in the eighth, was then hit by a pitch.
Joel Reynolds was intentionally walked to load the bases for Brian Griener. With a 1-1 count on Griener, Habben unleashed a wild pitch that got to the right of Goeders. Goeders tracked it down, but his throw was off target as Habben and Port streaked towards the plate. Port scored standing up to send Wartburg, 29-9 on the year, to the next round to face Coe College.
Soenen went eight innings, giving up three runs while striking out four. Ben Lickteig was three for three at the plate. Koenecke was two for four.
Buena Vista led all three of its tournament games in the eighth inning. The Beavers lost two of those three games.
Wartburg, which was upset 3-2 last Thursday in an opening round game, came all the way from the loser's bracket to win the conference title. After losing their opener, Wartburg won four straight elimination games.
In their second game of the tourney, the Knights beat Central College 12-6. After edging BVU, Wartburg doubled up on Coe 8-4, then beat Simpson College 9-0 in the Iowa Conference playoff championship game.