Sagehens Drop Heartbreaker In 11 Innings To Texas-Tyler

Sagehens Drop Heartbreaker In 11 Innings To Texas-Tyler

Austin, Texas - The Pomona-Pitzer Baseball team jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but Texas-Tyler rallied to tie the game in the seventh and take a 4-3 win in 11 innings in the NCAA Division III West Regionals on Wednesday at Tornado Stadium on the campus of Concordia University.

The loss drops the Sagehens to 29-15 on the year, and forces them to play their second game of the regionals tomorrow against No. 1 Linfield at 3:30 p.m. (Central time), needing a win to stay alive. Linfield won its opening round contest 2-0 over Texas Lutheran (in a six-team double-elimination format, the winner of the 1-6 game plays the loser of the 3-4 game). Texas-Tyler improves to 36-10 and will face Trinity (Texas) which defeated Cal Lutheran 1-0.

The game winning run was scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the 11th, as Texas-Tyler loaded the bases on three walks and scored the winning run on a 1-1 pitch. The Patriots tied the score in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run, two-out single from Jeff Kosta, right after he had apparently lined out to end the inning. However, senior Guy Stevens (Lafayette, Calif.) was called for a balk on the play, advancing the two runners to second and third, and Kosta then hit a grounder into the 3-4 hole to score both runners and tie the game 3-3.

Sophomore Jake Bruml (San Mateo, Calif.) got the Sagehens off to a great start with a two-run homer in his first career NCAA Tournament at bat (home run swing is pictured). Senior Mike Moyer (Oakland, Calif.) led off the game with a walk and stole second, and Bruml was able to clear the high fence in left field with his fifth round-tripper of the season.

The Sagehens nearly tacked on more, as senior first baseman Nick Gentili (Glendale, Calif.) and sophomore third baseman E.J. Lopez (Fresno, Calif.) hit line drive singles, and sophomore second baseman Ryan Madden (Oakland, Calif.) beat out an infield single. However, Texas-Tyler starting pitcher Chance Cotton was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to escape further damage.

Moyer then stretched the lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning with a two-out RBI single to left, scoring sophomore shortstop Sam Fox (New York, N.Y.), who just missed a homer as he doubled off the wall in left off the 370-foot sign.  Texas-Tyler quickly got that run back in the bottom half as Kevan House singled up the middle to make the score 3-1, but he was quickly taken off the bases as the Sagehens turned their third double play of the day.

After Texas-Tyler tied the score 3-3, freshman right fielder Kevin Brice (Tucson, Ariz.) was able to throw the go-ahead run out at the plate to keep the game tied. In the top of the eighth, Brice reached on an error, went to second on a single from junior catcher Jackson Badger (Berkeley, Calif.) and then moved up a base on a passed ball. Fox then hit a slow chopper to shortstop and nearly beat out an infield single, but was called out by the narrowest of margins as he and the ball arrived at first base virtually simultaneously while Brice crossed the plate with what would have been the go-ahead run.

Stevens kept the Patriots off the board in the eighth and ninth, and senior Stuart Gano (Lakewood, Wash.) worked a 1-2-3 tenth, but Pomona-Pitzer was unable to get the tiebreaking run against Texas-Tyler reliever Matt Sheppard, who allowed one hit in three innings of relief. Brice was robbed of a hit with two outs in the tenth on a diving play by center fielder Sam Lane, and after Fox singled in the 11th, Moyer grounded sharply to third on a hit-and-run, which still gave the Patriots enough time to turn the double play.

Gentili (2-for-5) and Fox (2-for-5) each had multi-hit games for the Sagehens. Bruml ended up 1-for-5 with his homer, but he also flew out to the wall in left in his second at-bat, just missing his second homer, and he scorched a line drive to left in the seventh with a runner on second base. Bruml also went 6.1 innings and allowed two runs to get the no-decision, as he left the game with a lead.  

Pomona-Pitzer hosted Linfield in a three-game series this season, and the Wildcats took all three games (6-2, 15-4 and 9-3) on April 12-13.