(Portions of this story courtesy of Trinity University)
(Photo courtesy of Lang White, UT-Tyler Athletics)
TYLER, Texas - Trinity University used a five run sixth inning to come-from-behind and win their first ever Regional title, defeated Linfield 7-3, and earning their first ever trip to Appleton, Wis. for the 2015 Division III NCAA Championship.
Trinity went 4-0 at the West Region Tournament this week, defeating two-time defending regional champion Linfield twice. The Tigers also beat former Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Millsaps College, and the University of La Verne.
Junior outfielder Jeremy Wolf was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player for his performance, puncuated with a 4-for-4 day at the plate on Saturday. Wolf had two doubles and drove in three runs in today's historic win.
Also on the All-Tournament Team were Drew Butler, Brody Fehmel, Ryan Gray, and Jose Santos. Fehmel drove home the eventual game-winning runs with his two-run double in the sixth inning, going 2-for-4 on the day. Butler and Santos came into today's game as two of the top hitters in the tournament, and Gray picked up the first win of the week with a nine-strikeout performance against Linfield.
The game started off on a sour note for the Tigers, who saw the Wildcats take the early lead with a run in the top of the first. Trinity's offense put baserunners aboard in each of the first three innings, but stranded five batters. In the fifth, Linfield looked like it may pull away and force a second game after plating two runs to take a 3-0 lead.
That's when Trinity made its move, scoring two times in the bottom of the fifth to make it a one-run game. The very next inning was a five-hit onslaught that led to five runs, giving the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish.
Nick Jewett drove in the game-tying run, followed quickly by Fehmel's double down the line to put Trinity in front. Wolf and Connor Moore drove in two more to finish off the inning and put the game out of reach. Moore went 3-for-5 with two runs scored in the game, while Jewett also had a pair of hits for the Tiger offense.
Matt Tindall (5-1) picked up the victory on the mound, pitching six strong innings to start the game. Tindall allowed three runs on seven hits, striking out four batters. Mike Walker notched the save after throwing three shutout innings to finish off the win, giving up just two total hits.
The SCAC has had so many close regional titles, but fell just shot in years such as 2006 with Millsaps and 2013 with Trinity. The Tigers become the first school from the conference to move on to Appleton for the championships.
The NCAA Division III Baseball Championship runs May 22-26 at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wisconsin. Trinity will face Emory University - winners of the South Regional - on Friday, May 22, at 4:30 p.m.