Rose-Hulman Upsets No. 1 Ranked Webster in NCAA Tournament
MOLINE, ILL. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology upset the No. 1 ranked Webster University Gorloks 3-2 in extra innings to eliminate the nation's top team from the NCAA Division III Central Baseball Regional on Thursday afternoon.
Sophomore Warren Whithaus (Robinson, Ill./Robinson) snapped a 2-2 tie in the 11th inning with a game winning single to score junior Josh Hoeing (Rushville, Ind./Rushville) with the game winning run. The victory marked Rose-Hulman's first ever win over a baseball team ranked No. 1 in the nation.
With the win, Rose-Hulman adavnces in the bracket to a game that will either be played late Friday night or early Saturday. The remaining games in Thursday's Central Regional were postponed until Friday due to rain.
The win also marked the second time this season that Rose-Hulman has eliminated the No. 1 team in the nation in an NCAA Division III Tournament. The Fightin' Engineer men's soccer defeated previously undefeated Ohio Wesleyan University 1-0 in the Round of 32 in November.
Sophomore Caleb Kissel (Plainfield, Ill./North) led the Fightin' Engineer offense with five singles, and Hoeing added four hits including a pair of doubles. Whithaus had two singles as part of Rose-Hulman's 15-hit attack.
Sophomore Karson Nixon (Jasper, Ind./Jasper) started and pitched six shutout innings prior to a 50-minute rain delay to give the Engineers a solid outing. Nixon allowed just three hits with one strikeout as Rose-Hulman led 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth when the rains hit.
After the rain delay, senior Kevin Farley (Centennial, Colo./Littleton) pitched two innings and allowed one earned run as the Gorloks showcased their top ranking in a rally to tie the score at 2-2.
Head coach Jeff Jenkins called on sophomore closer Alec McNally (Geneva, Ill./Wheaton Academy) starting in the ninth inning, and McNally threw his best game of the season to earn his second win. McNally held the top ranked team without a hit over three innings in the win.
Rose-Hulman jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Senior Hank Akard (Indianapolis/Ben Davis) singled, stole second and advanced to third on a single by Kissel. Senior Andrew Benitez (Mililani, Hawaii/Mililani) then hit a double to right field to score Akard and give Rose-Hulman a 1-0 lead. Pitcher Chris Jansen pitched out of a bases loaded jam for Webster to keep the score at 1-0.
In the sixth, Kissel singled and scored on a Hoeing double on the final play before the rain delay was called to give Rose-Hulman a two-run advantage.
Webster knotted the score with two runs in the eighth. Matt Wollnik and Corey Lasky singled to start the rally, and both later scored on a two-run single by Jordan Stoulp. With two runners aboard, Farley coaxed back-to-back hitters to fly out to Akard on a pair of sliding catches in center field.
Rose-Hulman had a chance to win in the 10th, when Kissel singled and took second on a wild pitch. Webster pitcher Dylan Dean Smith recorded the final out to push the game to the 11th.
In the 11th, Hoeing opened the frame with a double to center field and took third on a bunt single by freshman Zach Trusk (Plainfield, Ill./North). After a walk to sophomore Josh Koutnik (Mount Prospect, Ill./Hersey), Whithaus lined a game winning single to center in a heavy rain.
The win marked Rose-Hulman's first NCAA Division III Tournament win in baseball since 2010 and the fourth in school history. The Fightin' Engineers need one more win to make their farthest advancement in an NCAA Baseball Tournament in school history, and could also meet archrival DePauw University later in the tournament with one more victory.