(Portions of this story courtesy of Trinity University)
TYLER, Texas - With victories over Millsaps College and the University of La Verne, Trinity University advanced to Saturday's regional final and needs just one win to advance to the Division III World Series. Regional Website l Interview with Tim Scannell and Pepe Santos
After a 5-3 win over the Majors in its first game, Trinity rallied with five runs in the bottom of the eighth to beat La Verne 7-4. The Tigers took advantage of two errors, three wild pitches, and three walks by the Leopards in the inning, scoring the runs on a total of just one hit.
La Verne took a 2-0 lead after runs in the third and fourth, and also had a perfect game going on the mound through four innings. The Tigers broke that up with a leadoff single in the fifth, scoring the first run of the game on a single from Jose Santos.
In the seventh, the Leopards grabbed the momentum with two more runs to make it 4-1, and though Trinity scored once in the bottom of the inning, the Tigers also squandered a chance at a big inning. Trinity put the first three runners on base, then got caught stealing, hit into a fielder's choice, and flew out to end the threat.
With just six outs remaining, the Tigers began their rally with a leadoff walk in the eighth. Two wild pitches put Connor Moore on third, and Colin Serkowski drove him in with a single to right. That proved to be the only hit of the inning, though Trinity was far from being done.
After an error put another runner on, La Verne was on the verge of escaping after back-to-back strikeouts; but Santos drew a two-out walk to load the bases, then Austin Singer tied the game with a walk of his own to tie the game 4-4. Another wild pitch put Trinity in front for the first time, then a two-run error followed to make it a three-run cushion. Santos was 2-for-3 at the plate, while Singer drove in a pair of runs to lead the Tiger offense.
Teddy Turner (3-1) earned the win in relief, pitching the final 2.2 innings without allowing a hit. Trent Rape started the game, giving up four runs on seven hits over six innings, but escaped with a no-decision.
Earlier in the day against Millsaps, the Tigers took the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the third, but the Majors scored runs in the home half of the third and fourth innings to tie the game 2-2. Trinity immediately answered with two more in the fifth to take the lead for good. Carter McEachern's RBI groundout put Trinity ahead for good in that fifth inning, while Austin Singer's run-scoring double was the eventual game-winning RBI.
The Majors cut the lead to just one with another run in the seventh, but a sacrifice fly from Nick Jewett added another Tiger run to the scoreboard. That turned out to be the final run of the game for both teams, though Millsaps put runners on base in both the eighth and ninth.
Jeremy Wolf went 3-for-5 with two runs scored in the game, while Colin Serkowski also scored twice for the Tigers. Singer finished with a pair of hits, and five different Trinity players drove in runs for the win.
Zack Speer improved to 7-2 this season, after going 6.1 innings to start today's game against Millsaps. He allowed just two earned runs (three total) on seven hits. Nick Griffith picked up his second save of the year throwing 2.2 shutout innings to finish off the game, yielding just three hits, and striking out a pair of batters.
Trinity advances to tomorrow's regional final, and will face one of three other teams remaining in the tournament. Tonight's final game will feature Linfield College against Millsaps in an elimination game. The winner of that game will face La Verne to start Saturday's tournament schedule. The Tigers will follow with a 4:30 p.m. game against the winner of Saturday's opening game. Trinity needs just one win to reach the NCAA Championships round, played in Appleton, Wisconsin.