Gorillas prepare to face Northeastern State in MIAA final four

Pitt State face the Riverhawks Thursday in Edmond, Oklahoma.

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg State Gorillas are in the final four in the MIAA baseball tournament.

Pitt State will face Northeastern State on Thursday in the tournament semifinals – a team that took two out of three from the Gorillas in the regular season, scoring 38 runs in those three games.

“They’re a very competitive team. I think they lead the country in home runs. We just saw a home run hitting team in Missouri Southern,” says PSU head coach Bob Fornelli, “We have to keep the ball down and change speeds and give ourselves a chance to win.”

“They can swing it. They’re a good hitting team,” says Pitt State senior pitcher Conner Van Cleave, “They also have some pretty good pitchers there, but the one thing that really shows is they can hit the ball really well. We know offensively we played pretty well there, and our pitching has stepped up since we played them last. Hopefully we can just kind of come out and put both together.”

The Gorillas are coming off a thrilling series win over rival Missouri Southern in the first round of the MIAA tournament.

The Lions took the opener from PSU, before the Gorillas rallied to take games two and three. Pitt State overcame a 4-0 deficit in game two and a 13-5 deficit in game three.

“Those are the best games that I’ve ever been a part of in my whole life,” Van Cleave says, “There’s a time you have to understand that we have to move on and learn from what we did this weekend and get better. It was an exciting moment. Now we have to take a step back and re-evaluate everything we did last weekend and get better for this next weekend.”

First pitch for Thursday’s game against Northeastern State is scheduled for 4 PM.