Lawrenceville, Ga.--The Patriot baseball team (38-17) was officially eliminated from the NAIA Opening Round after a 6-2 loss to Westmont (Calif.) in an elimination game in the Lawrenceville Bracket.
It was the bottom of the fifth inning that did the Patriots in. The Warriors (41-16) plated three runs on two hits, but it was the Patriot defense that committed three errors in the inning. Westmont also scored single runs in the second, third and sixth innings to add to the three they scored in the fifth. St. Catharine on the other hand, only scored single runs in the fifth and eighth innings in the loss.
Steven Borkowski (San Diego, Calif.) took the loss, but gave the Patriots a quality start on the mound. Borkowski (7-5) allowed six runs – two earned – on six hits in his eight innings of work. He also finished with eight strikeouts and five walks in his 137-pitch performance.
Westmont starter, Andrew Vasquez also had a quality outing. Vasquez picked up the win with a seven inning performance. He allowed just one run on two hits with 13 strikeouts. Stephan Larson started the eighth and failed to record an out allowing one run on one hit with three walks. Sam Sheehan picked up the save allowing just one hit over the final two innings with five strikeouts.
Westmont drew first blood in the second inning with a run on two hits. A single led off the inning, then after a ground out, Steven Pollex ripped a triple to deep right-center field. The one run scored, but Pollex was gunned down at the plate by a perfect throw from Alfredo Bohorquez (Maracaibo, Venezuela) to Drew Kissel (Jeffersonville, Ind.). Borkowski got a strikeout to end the inning.
The Warriors added another in the third, but the Patriots matched it with one of their own in the fifth. Josh Wenning (Palmyra, Ind.) reached base with two outs after being hit by the pitch. Wenning then moved to third after back-to-back stolen bases. Drew Kissel then sent a single to straightaway center to score Wenning from third.
After St. Catharine cut the deficit to one in the top half the fifth, Westmont broke though in the bottom half of the inning. They plated three runs on just two hits, but it was the Patriot defense that struggled committing three errors in the inning.
Westmont added another in the seventh to extend their lead to 6-1, but the Patriot offense showed signs of life in the eighth inning. Harold Diaz (Gurabo, P.R.) legged out an infield single to open the inning. Then after back-to-back walks, the bases were loaded with no one out. Nick Rosso (Santa Barbara, Calif.) also reached on a walk to force home a run. However, that would be all the Patriots got after Sheehan was able to get a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to end the inning.
St. Catharine got two more base runners on in the ninth, but couldn’t produce any runs as Warriors closed it out for the win. The Patriots had numerous opportunities throughout the game as they left 12 runners on base. Kissel, Bohorquez, Diaz and Rosso were the only Patriot hitters to record a hit in the game.
Kissel and Rosso also finished with a run batted in. Dominque Guevara (Oxnard, Calif.) didn’t record a hits, but reached base five times via base on balls.
Patriot head baseball coach, Luther Bramblett will now turn to the offseason and the beginning of recruiting. Bramblett and his assistants will have a tough time replacing nine seniors.