WASHINGTON, Pa. - Sophomore Rick Spiers (South Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) went 4 for 6 with a homer, three runs and three RBI to lead second-ranked and second-seeded Randolph-Macon past top-seeded La Roche 19-6 Friday evening in the finals of the winners' bracket of the Mideast Regional of the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament at Ross Memorial Park.
The Yellow Jackets (35-6-1) extend their win streak to nine games and advance to the regional championship game at a date and time to be determined.
#3 Wooster and #4 College of New Jersey will meet in an elimination game at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The winner will face the Redhawks (38-10) at 1:15 p.m. If LRC wins Saturday's second game, it will face R-MC in the championship game at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. If LRC loses, the championship game will be Sunday at noon. R-MC would need just one victory to claim the Mideast Regional title, while the opponent would have to beat the Yellow Jackets twice to win the regtional crown.
LRC plated an unearned run in the bottom of the first and added a two-run homer in the third to take an early 3-0 lead.
Spiers had a home run to left to lead off the fifth, his second of the season, to pull R-MC within two at 3-1 and spark the offense. Senior Christian Sanderson (Lynchburg, Va./Jefferson Forest) drew a walk and moved to second when senior Travis Lodge (Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) was hit by a pitch. Senior Nick Maiolo (Powhatan, Va./Powhatan) doubled down the left field line to drive in Sanderson and make it a 3-2 game. Senior Mitchell Keeler (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) singled up the middle to bring home Lodge and Maiolo as the Yellow Jackets took a 4-3 lead. Senior Michael Trentham (Midlothian, Va./James River) singled to left and both runners moved up on an errant throw. Juniors Stuart Brown (Midlothian, Va./Trinity) and Jordan Schmeer (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) delivered RBI groundouts as R-MC took a 6-3 advantage.
R-MC added to its lead in the sixth. Spiers had a leadoff single, stole second and advanced to third on a base hit by Sanderson. Lodge launched a homer to left center to extend the advantage to 9-3. It was the 13th long ball of the season for Lodge, a program record for homers. Lodge also extended his hit streak to 19 games.
The Yellow Jackets kept the offense going in the seventh. Brown singled and moved to second when Schmeer was hit by a pitch. Freshman Jeffrey Butler (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) sacrificed the runners. Spiers had a two-run single, Sanderson had an RBI single, Lodge lined an RBI double and Maiolo capped the rally with a two-run homer to push the lead to 15-5. Maiolo has eight home runs this season, the second-highest total on the team. It was his second dinger in the regional.
After the Redhawks plated a run in the eighth, Keeler, Trentham, Brown and Schmeer had RBI singles in the ninth as the Yellow Jackets extended the lead to 19-6.
Lodge went 2 for 4 with three runs and four RBI, while Maiolo (3 for 6, 3 R) and Keeler (2 for 6, 2 R) both drove in three. Sanderson was 3 for 4 with four runs, while Schmeer was 3 for 5 with one run and two RBI.
Freshman Colin Selby (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) earned the victory to raise his record to 4-1. He allowed six hits and five runs, of which three were earned, with five walks and four strikeouts.