MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Trailing 1-0 for most of the game, the Trinity University Tigers tied the DePauw University Tigers 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth and from there used a two run eighth inning rally to top the Indiana Tigers 3-1 and win the 2010 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship. Box Score
Trinity (32-7) claimed its second SCAC title in the last three years and the program's sixth since 1992 with a dominant performance from starter Ryan Lucero. Lucero lasted eight innings, scattered nine hits while allowing just one earned run and struck out seven in earning the win. With the win Lucero improved to 5-1 this season. Trinity earned the league's automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Division III Baseball Championship.
Sophomore left-hander Elliott Ross suffered a tough defeat in dropping to 8-2 this year. Ross limited a Trinity offense that was ranked sixth in the nation in batting average (.379) and second in the nation in scoring (11.7 runs/game) heading into the SCAC tournamnent, to just three runs on eight hits and struck out six in 7.1 innings of work.
"Ross was phenomenal," Trinity head coach Tim Scannell said. "He throws three pitches for strikes. He pitches backwards and he pitches both sides of the plate. He's a tough type of pitcher to face."
"He (Ross) has been outstanding in any role we put him in." said DePauw head coach Jake Martin. "We put him in tough spots throughout the year and has just been lights out for us."
Trinity was in DePauw's shoes a year ago. It was the Tigers of Trinity who were trying to win two games on championship Sunday to win the SCAC title last season. Trinity dropped an 11-1 run rule contest to Hendrix in the championship and today's win hit home for Scannell.
"We've been on the DePauw side of it before," he said. "We've been real fortunate to be able to get to the finals and I think our players just kind of willed themselves to win today."
DePauw put the game's first run across in the top of the first. After a Rob McPike double to left advanced Taylor Hoffman to third, Hoffman came around to score on Jason Cohen's sacrifice fly.
The game remained scoreless until Trinity batted in the bottom of the sixth. After a Dylan Early strikeout, second baseman Jonathan Hall tied the game with a solo homerun just over the left field foul pole. Trinity then tacked on the championship runs in the eight. A run scoring single from Hall, and Nick Papas' bases loaded walk were the difference for the 19th-ranked Tigers, as they held on for the win.
"I'm proud of our guys," Martin said. "We fought hard all year long and overcame some adversity."
Hall finished the game batting 2-for-4 with two RBI, a home run and run scored out of the lead off spot in the batting order. Papas finished 1-for-3 with one RBI. First baseman Evan Jones, who came into the championship game hitting .818 (9-for-11) during the tournament was 0-for-4 with two strike outs.
DePauw (24-17) was led by Hoffman (2-for-4, one run) and Cohen (2-for-3, one RBI). The duo were the only two DePauw Tigers to post multi-hit games on the afternoon.