SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The Quincy University baseball team danced with danger once too often Thursday.
Third-seeded Wayne State loaded the bases three times in the first five innings in the opening game of the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional at Robin Roberts Stadium, but managed to score just three runs and went to the sixth inning trailing 5-3.
When the Hawks allowed the Warriors to load the bases yet again, they ran out of wriggle room.
Wayne State capitalized on having the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth, scoring five times to propel it to an 8-6 victory.
"When you're doing that, you're playing with fire," QU coach Josh Rabe said.
The Hawks (32-19) will face seventh-seeded Drury at 3:30 p.m. Friday in an elimination game. The winner advances to play either Wayne State or Illinois-Springfield in another elimination game at 7 p.m.
If still alive Saturday, Quincy will have to win twice to advance to the super regional.
"We've just got to win a game (Friday) and get to that second game," Rabe said. "I think we'll be all right."
All it takes is the elimination of the mental miscues and the walks that led to the trouble.
Wayne State loaded the bases with two outs in the first, but left-handed starter Riley Martin got a groundout to end the threat. After Martin worked a 1-2-3 second inning, he allowed three straight singles to open the third. The Warriors got only one run out of it as third baseman TJ Tamaccio turned a double play.
In the fourth, a single, a walk and a defensive miscue on a sacrifice bunt loaded the bases again with no outs. This time, the Warriors got an RBI single and an RBI groundout to take a 3-2 lead.
In the sixth, a walk, a single and another sacrifice bunt that went for a single loaded the bases for the fourth time. QU reliver Dalton Overstreet retired the next two Wayne State hitters, but a MacLean's single to center scored two runs and was the start of a five-run uprising.
"We couldn't stop the bleeding," Rabe said. "If we could have held them to two runs there, we give ourselves a chance."
The Hawks still had a chance, especially after knocking Warriors right-hander Hunter Brown out of the game.
Brown is projected to be taken in the top 10 rounds of Major League Baseball's amateur draft after going 9-0 with a 1.80 ERA this season, but he was gone by the sixth inning. Quincy tagged him for five earned runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked four.
Jeff Hightower's three-run home run in the top of the fifth off Brown have the Hawks a 5-3 lead.
Although Quincy scored just one run against the bullpen, it had chances. After scoring two outs in the seventh and leaving runners at second and third, the Hawks got the leadoff hitter on base in both the eighth and ninth innings.
"We didn't do anything with it," Rabe said. "You have to find a way to make something happen."
Joe Roscetti went 3 for 5 hitting leadoff for the Hawks, while Chandler Purcell, Hightower and Tamaccio had two hits apiece. However, the bottom five in the Hawks' order went a combined 3 for 18 with six strikeouts.
NCAA Division II Midwest Regional
Wayne State 8, Quincy 6
Quincy 020 030 100--6 10 1
Wayne State 001 205 00x--8 12 3
Martin, Overstreet (4), Hirsch (6) and Kalusniak; Brown, Cox (6) and Kelly. WP--Cox (5-1). LP--Overstreet (4-2). HR--Quincy 1 (Hightower).