The Westminster baseball team is NCAA Tournament bound for the third time in program history after a 9-5 take all win over Greenville College in the championship game of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Tournament. The Blue Jays lost the first game of the day, 9-6, but with a double-elimination set up, the Blue Jays were able to bounce back in the take-all game.
The Blue Jays won the program's fourth SLIAC Tournament and now possess a 28-13 season record. Senior Collin Brinker tied the career saves record (7) in the take all win, and senior Deion Hughes tied the career triples record (10) in the loss.
The team will learn their fate in the regional round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, May 15, at 11:59 pm. The NCAA will release the tournament bracket here.
The SLIAC announced the 2016 SLIAC All-Tournament Team following the championship. Westminster's senior Nolan Bax, sophomore Nick Bohlmann, and Hughes were selected to the team, and Brinker was named the 2016 SLIAC MVP.
The Blue Jays trailed Greenville in the take all game, 5-2, but Bohlmann knocked a three run shot over the fence to even the score at 5-5 in the sixth inning. The first two Blue Jay runs came from a sophomore Adam Mundle RBI ground out in the third inning and a RBI single junior Nick Cessna RBI single in the sixth.
Bax brought in the go-ahead run with a RBI single to right field later in the sixth inning, scoring junior Tanner Branneky, and the Blue Jays maintained a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Blue Jay offense loaded the bases with two outs and Cessna to the plate in the bottom of the eighth. He placed the ball in right center, picking up a double and bringing in three runs to secure a 9-5 lead.
A Greenville strikeout and two fly outs ended the game with a Blue Jay 9-5 win.
Senior Justin Riggins (1-0) grabbed the win on the mound as he pitched four innings. Senior Collin Brinker pitched the final inning, earning the save and tying the career saves record.
Seniors Tyler Branneky and Connor Hager each went 3-for-4 from the plate with two runs scored. Cessna brought in four runs while Bohlmann brought in three.
In game one of the day, Greenville held an 8-0 lead after 6.5 innings of play. The Blue Jays picked up five runs in the bottom of the seventh with a Cessna RBI triple, a RBI error by Ta. Branneky and RBI singles from Bax and Mundle. The fifth run came in with a Greenville wild pitch.
A RBI double from sophomore Blake Strebler in the eighth cut Greenville's lead to 8-6, but Greenville added one in the top of the ninth to go up by three runs. The Greenville defense left Hughes stranded on third after a his record tying triple to end the game.
The Blue Jay offense recorded nine hits with two doubles from Ty. Branneky and Strebler and two triples from Hughes and Cessna. Bax went 3-for-4 from the plate with one RBI and one run scored.