The Patriot Baseball team (38-15) made history just by making their first ever trip to the NAIA Opening Round, but they continued to make history with their first ever win in the event.
The Bat Pats plated nine runs on six hits en route to a 9-3 win over Spring Arbor (Mich.) in the opening round of the Lawrenceville Bracket. With the win, the Patriots will now take on top-seeded Georgia Gwinnett in the nightcap tonight at 6 p.m. ET.
The Patriots jumped on the Cougars (30-17) early and often with three in the second, two in the sixth and four in the seventh to come away with the victory. Conner Lindsay (Nicholasville, Ky.) started the game for the Patriots and lasted four innings. He allowed one run (unearned) on four hits.
Austin Willis-Greene (Beaufort, S.C.) picked up the win for the Patriots. He allowed two runs on four hits in his two innings of work. Nathan Getzin (Louisville, Ky.) recorded a save by pitching the final three innings. Getzin allowed just one hit over the final three innings to secure the win for the Patriots.
The Patriots drew first blood in the second inning when they scored three runs on just one hit. After a groundout to opening inning, Francisco Gonzalez (San Diego, Calif.) reached on a walk, but was forced out after Nick Rosso (Santa Barbara, Calif.) reached on a fielder’s choice. Then, back-to-back walks to Santiago Arce (Chula Vista, Calif.) and Tyler Devine (Harrodsburg, Ky.) loaded the bases with two outs.
Josh Wenning (Palmyra, Ind.) then ripped a single up the middle to score Rosso and Arce. Spencer Goebel forced home a run after issuing back-to-back walks to Drew Kissel (Jeffersonville, Ind.) and Alfredo Bohorquez (Maracaibo, Venezuela). Goebel was able to work his way out of the jam with a fielder’s choice.
The Cougars answered with a single run in the third, but the Patriots battled back with two more in the sixth on three hits. A hit by pitch open the inning and then a Gonzalez single put runners at first and second with no outs. Two batters later, Arce reached on a walk to load the bases with one out. Then, back-to-back RBI singles by Devine and Wenning gave the Patriots a 5-1 advantage heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Spring Arbor battled back with another run in the sixth, but once again, St. Catharine answered with a four spot in the top half of the seventh. Bohorquez reached on a hit by pitch to open the inning, he then advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a walk, Dominique Guevara (Oxnard, Calif.) laid down sacrifice bunt to advance the runners into scoring position, but an errant throw by the first baseman allowed Bohorquez to score from third.
Francisco Gonzalez then ripped a double down the left field line to score another. Nick Rosso continued to follow suit with an RBI double to score Gonzalez from second. Rosso advanced to third on a groundout and later scored on a wild pitch. Robert Cleary was able to get out of the inning with a pop out.
Nathan Getzin allowed a run on two hits in the eighth inning, but the Patriot defense stood tall with a 6-4-3 double play and pop out to end the inning. Getzin allowed a two-out single in the ninth, but was able to get a fly out to end the game.
The Cougars’ starter, Spencer Goebel, allowed five runs on just two hits in his 5.1 innings of work. Goebel struggled to find the strike zone throughout the game allowing seven walks. Robert Cleary came on in relief in the sixth and allowed four runs on four hits.
Josh Wenning led the way at the plate for the Patriots. Wenning turned in a two-hit game with three RBI’s. Francisco Gonzalez also tabbed a pair of hits with an RBI in the win. Bohorquez, Rosso and Devine also finished with a run batted in.