De Pere, WI -- Ryan Kaveney showed his ability for the Beloit College Baseball team as both a pitcher and a hitter on day one of the 2016 Midwest Conference Baseball Tournament on Friday in De Pere. The Buccaneers defeated Grinnell College 5-1 in the opener behind a typical pitching gem from the senior and then topped MWC North Division rival St. Norbert College 4-3 in 11 innings in their second game of the day on Kaveney's walk-off single in the 11th inning. The two victories secured a spot in the Tournament Championship on Saturday afternoon.
In the first game Kaveney was dominant and the Buccaneers took advantage of three unearned runs for the win over the Pioneers, ranked 30th in the most recent ABCA poll.
Beloit struck for four runs in the second inning, two of them unearned. Zach Kolasinski and Joey Casa had RBI singles, Adrian Peil a run-scoring double, and Jeremy Dutton an RBI ground out in the inning. They tacked on a single run in the fourth, unearned, when Mike Gulve reached on an error and Kolasinski scored with two out.
Grinnell got on the board in the sixth on a solo home run to right center. But that was the extent of their offense.
Kaveney pitched a complete-game three-hitter for his seventh win of the season, striking out 11 and walking none. Kolasinski, Kam Sallee and Mark Christine all had two hits in the win.
The second game was about as nail-biting as it can get. The host Green Knights scored single runs in the second and third innings to jump on top and held the Bucs at bay...until the seventh. Beloit, playing as the home team on the scoreboard, tied the game in the inning on Brice Call's RBI double before Sallee tied it up with a two-out run-scoring single. It stayed 2-2 until the teams headed into extra innings.
SNC grabbed the lead in the top of the tenth off Kaveney, who came on in relief of Austin Padjen, with a two-out single. But the Buccaneers answered in the bottom of the inning when Kolasinski singled in Peil with two outs. St. Norbert went 1-2-3 in the top of the 11th before Casa doubled with one out in the bottom of 11. Call was intentionally walked and Sallee flew out for the second out. Kaveney then singled to score Casa and send the Bucs to the Championship Game.
Padjen went nine innings, giving up just the two early runs, allowing eight hits while striking out three and walking two. Kaveney gave up the 10th-inning run and two hits in two innings, striking out three and walking one, intentionally, for his second win of the day. Casa, Call, Kaveney and Kolasinski had two hits in the game.
Beloit will play the winner of game four between Grinnell and St. Norbert at 1:00 p.m. Saturday. Those teams play at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Being a double elimination format, if Beloit would lose the 1:00 p.m. game a second, and deciding game, would decide the Tournament Champion at 4:00 p.m. The Tournament Champion advances to the NCAA Division III Tournament with the MWC's automatic bid.