SPOKANE, Wash. - The top-seeded Tiger baseball team advanced to the NCAA Division III Regional title game with a dominating 14-2 victory over #5 seed University of Texas-Tyler on Friday afternoon.
Third-ranked Trinity (38-7) will play for the regional championship at noon Pacific Time on Saturday. A win would send the Tigers back to the DIII World Series for the second straight year. Trinity’s regional final opponent could be one of the three remaining teams, including UT-Tyler (32-18), fourth-seeded and host Whitworth University, or #6 Pacific (WA) Lutheran University. The three teams will play elimination games later tonight. Saturday’s winner will head to the DIII Championship May 27-31 at Appleton, Wisconsin.
The post-game press conference is provided by tournament host Whitworth University, and features Head Coach Tim Scannell, senior outfielder Jeremy Wolf, and senior left-hander Michael Walker.
The Tigers came out hard and fast, as they took a 7-0 lead after three innings. The three-run second inning was punctuated by Colin Serkowski's RBI triple. The Tigers added two runs in the third, and one in the fifth, before exploding for five more in the sixth. Serkowski cracked a two-RBI double, and Wolf drove in a run with his 27th double of the campaign. Andrew Waters blasted a lead-off homer in the seventh inning, for his seventh home run of the season.
Wolf broke Trinity’s single-season record with his two doubles today, and his 27 doubles this season also ties the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference record for one year (Andy Kucek of Hendrix (AR) College, 2003). He previously broke the Tiger record for career doubles, and is now just three away from tying the career conference record as well.
Serkowski drove in four runs, and went 2-5 at the plate. Wolf was a 3-5 hitter, with three RBI, and improved his team-leading total to 63 this season. Connor Moore hit 3-5 with two RBI, and Drew Butler batted 3-6, while also driving in two runs. Carter McEachern was responsible for scoring three of the Tiger runs on the day.
Walker pitched for eight innings, and remained undefeated at 9-0. He struck out six batters, and allowed only two runs. Jeff Lonnecker finished off the matchup by throwing the ninth inning, which led to the 11th straight victory for the Tigers.
“They really, really answered the bell," concluded Coach Scannell. "Mike Walker came out and had a breaking ball, changeup, fast ball, and was a really good tone-setter. Our offense just methodically banged the ball all day long. I think it’s a little stronger offensive team than last year. I think that’s what another year’s experience gives you. This is a veteran club that knows how to square baseballs, and not get greedy.”