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Huggins sets save record as Ichabod baseball advances in MIAA tourney



 Washburn baseball is moving on in the MIAA Tournament after defeating Central Oklahoma, 6-2, in Game 2 of the MIAA best-of-three quarterfinal series.

The rest of the conference tournament will be a double elimination bracket hosted by Central Oklahoma Thursday through Sunday.

Washburn will play Central Missouri at 12 p.m. Thursday.

HugginsFormer Washburn Rural standout Dalton Huggins set Washburn's career save record as the Ichabods advanced in the MIAA Tournament. [File photo by Kyle Manthe/TSN]

Washburn Rural product Dalton Huggins made Washburn program history in Saturday's win, becoming the all-time career saves leader for the Ichabods as he recorded his 11th save since joining the Ichabods in 2020.

After the Bronchos (29-21) went down in order in the first inning, they benefited from some free passes in the second inning and loaded up the bases with a walk and back-to-back hit by pitches. A third hit batter of the inning brought in the first run of the game. Braden Babcock took over on the mound and got out of the inning with a strikeout and fielder's choice to mitigate any more damage.
The script flipped in the third inning as it was 31-18 Washburn's turn to capitalize on free bases.

After Connor Scott hit a one-out triple, Cal Watkins was hit by the pitch and Brett Ingram was walked on four pitches to load the bases. Quinn Waterbury followed with a walk and picked up an RBI that evened the score. With two outs, Parker Dunn sent the first pitch of his at bat through the right side to drive in two runs and give the Ichabods a 3-1 advantage.
Washburn went up 4-1 in the fourth frame as Easton Bruce hit a leadoff single and moved to third on a groundout and fly out before scoring on Watkins' single that dropped into left field.
The Bronchos cut the deficit in half after they scored an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth.
Central Oklahoma threatened again in the seventh and had the bases loaded with two outs, but John Cross left all three runners stranded as the inning ended on a groundout.
Washburn went down quietly in the top of the eighth still in front, 4-2. Huggins worked a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the eighth and struck out two in the process.
The Ichabods tacked on two more runs in the top of the ninth to go up, 6-2. Scott legged out an infield single and advanced to second on Watkins' sacrifice bunt. Ingram drove in a run with a single to left field and moved up to second on a groundout. Zion Bowlin reached on a throwing error that allowed Ingram to score Washburn's sixth run of the afternoon.
Huggins returned to the bump to close out the game and ended the game on seven pitches to clinch the series win for Washburn.
Washburn landed nine hits in the game and limited Central Oklahoma to four. Scott went 2-4 with two runs scored. Watkins was 2-3 at the dish and scored once and drove in one run. Ingram had a hit, two runs, an RBI, and two walks in the game.
Babcock earned the win and threw four and 2/3 innings in relief and allowed one unearned run on three hits, one walk, and four strikeouts. Huggins tossed two clean innings to close out the game and received his fourth save of the season.