Story courtesy of Trinity Sports Information
APPLETON, Wisconsin - The Trinity baseball team advanced to the Pool A Championship Game of the NCAA Division III College World Series with a 9-7 victory over defending national champion State University of New York at Cortland on Sunday.
The Tigers (41-7), who set a school record for victories in a season, will have a rematch Monday with the winner of SUNY Cortland and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse at Fox Cities Stadium. The time of the game will be determined later tonight. SUNY Cortland (42-7) and Wisconsin-La Crosse play later tonight in an elimination game. The Tigers opened their second consecutive World Series with an 8-0 shutout of UW-La Crosse on Friday.
"It's easy to see why Cortland are the defending champs, they are a very good team," said Head Coach Tim Scannell. "We were back on our heels after falling behind, but our guys had unbelievable grit and determination. Butler's homer really swung the momentum, but Tate was really the difference maker in the game today. He did a fabulous job of attacking the hitters, and he kept his poise even when they scratched to get back into the game."
The game started two hours late due to rainy weather in the area, and then was delayed again for nearly an hour in the bottom of the second. The Tigers were also able to overcome a rain delay in Friday's opening game, though that delay lasted nearly five hours.
Jose Santos powered up the Tigers with a two-run homer to start the scoring in the top of the second inning, crushing his sixth round-tripper of the campaign. Colin Serkowski knocked in another run later in the inning, as Trinity took a 3-0 lead.
After the game was restarted in the second with two Cortland runners aboard and just one out, Trinity starter Michael Walker was able to escape trouble, and keep the Red Dragons scoreless. Cortland would not be shut down for long, though, as the defending champs put together six hits in the fourth inning to score five runs to take the lead.
Trinity went down quietly in the fifth inning, and then started slowly in the sixth. With a runner on first and two outs, the Tigers began a rally that eventually won the game. Connor Moore and Colin Serkowski were both hit by a pitch to load the bases, bringing up Jeremy Wolf. He promptly dropped a two-run single in the gap in right-center, tying the game at 5-5. Drew Butlerthen ripped a three-run homer to left to put Trinity back in front 8-5.
SUNY Cortland was not finished, though, cutting the lead down to just one with a two-run eighth inning to make it 8-7. Trinity loaded the bases in the ninth, and Brody Fehmel drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to center. The Tigers were held to just the one run, but it was a key insurance run heading into the final frame.
The lead-off hitter reached in the bottom of the ninth, prompting a pitching change for the Tigers. Andrew Hoffman came into the game, and quickly shut down the rally by inducing a ground ball for a double play. The next batter lined out to short, and Trinity clinched the win.
Butler chalked up three RBI, while Jewett batted 3-5, which included a double. Santos and Wolf each each drove in two runs.
Walker lasted for 3.1 innings, before eventually being relieved by Chris Tate. The left-hander pitched for 4.2 innings and was credited with the victory. Tate remained undefeated this season with a 5-0 record, and struck out five opposing players in the process. Hoffman earned his team-leading fourth save by finishing off the game in the ninth.
"All of the teams left in this tournament are really good, and even though pitching is getting thin for everyone, we have to keep that grind mentality," concluded Coach Scannell. "We can't worry about where we fit in the tournament, and whether we are in a good situation. We have to stay locked in to an inning-by-inning approach to the game."