WASHINGTON, Pa. – Senior Ricky Brady's 11th home run of the season couldn't have come at a better time. And it ignited the Frostburg bench and fans that hung around Ross Memorial Park on Friday night.
For the second time today, the Bobcats (40-7) rallied for a win in an elimination game. This time, FSU took down 10th-ranked Heidelberg, 9-6, in the late game Friday in the 2015 NCAA Division III Mideast Regional.
The victory propels the Bobcats into Saturday's championship at 3:15 pm. The title game appearance will be the first for the Bobcats in six appearances in an NCAA Regional.
FSU will take on the winner of Heidelberg/La Roche that is scheduled to begin at 12:00 pm. All three teams remaining in the Mideast Regional have one loss heading into Saturday's games.
A sixth-run fourth inning appeared to hand the game's momentum to the Student Princes (33-13) as they grabbed a 6-1 lead.
However, that lead didn't last long as Frostburg strung together a pair of three-run frames in both the fifth and sixth. With Frostburg trailing 6-4, Brady dropped a three-run bomb over the right center fence for the eventual game-winning score.
Senior Lane Farmer smacked a solo home run in the seventh over the left field fence for an insurance run and junior Zach Keeler singled home senior Nick Walker for another run in the eighth for a 9-6 advantage.
"We have an unbelievably resilient group of guys and I've sat in here and said it just about every day about how many obstacles that we've had to overcome throughout the year," said head coach Guy Robertson. "Five runs was insignificant to this group tonight."
Freshman Greg Schneider kicked started the rally in the fifth with a leadoff single. Keeler drew a bases loaded walk that scored Schneider and Farmer was hit by a pitch with the bases still loaded that plated Walker. The third and final run of the fifth came when junior Connor Cooper was handed a free pass to first base that scored Brady.
In the sixth, senior Ricky Castro singled and senior Zach Weiss doubled to right to setup Brady's home run.
Zach Lawhorn made the most of his 14th appearance during his junior campaign, tossing 4.1 innings in relief and picking up his second win of the season. Heidelberg collected seven hits and six runs before Lawhorn stepped on the mound in the fourth inning. He inherited two runners and kept both from scoring while allowing just three hits. He fanned four and shut down the Student Princes that paved the way for the Bobcats to make their comeback.
"Unbelievable effort by Zach Lawhorn tonight," noted Robertson. "He just stifled them and kept them off balance. He just did an awesome job."
In the bottom of the eighth, Heidelberg threatened with back-to-back singles, but freshman Tyler Hoffman worked out of the jam. Junior Nick Huff then pitched the ninth inning and didn't surrender a hit, while picking up his fourth save of the season.
Ricky Brady … On his home run
"It felt good off the bat. I saw nothing but off-speed all day and I figured it would come again. I was just trying to get the runs in. Going into that at-bat, the coaching staff told me to keep my head in it and look for those pitches.
Lane Farmer … On his hitting during Regional
"I feel like I've been seeing the ball pretty well and I'm just trying to get the bat on ball and put it in play. Tonight I was lucky to get a high and in pitch, that is every batters dream. I was able to turn on the ball."