In a battle between the two remaining undefeated teams, the No. 2 seed Cal Lutheran baseball team held off a fierce rally from No. 6 seed Rhodes (Tenn.) to defeat the Lynx 10-8 on Saturday afternoon and advance to the championship game of the 2017 NCAA Division III West Regional.
The Kingsmen continued to impress on the offensive end and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Max Weinstein was the catalyst once again and drove a double to the right field fence to begin the game. Sinjin Todd followed with a single to left and Gabe Gunter drove in Weinstein to put CLU on the board. Carrying over from a strong performance last night, Weston Clark came through with yet another RBI double to bring home Todd and a successful squeeze bunt from Brad Fullerton scored Gunter from third to cap off the scoring in the frame.
Rhodes answered with a run in the second inning, but the Kingsmen exploded for seven runs in the fifth to take a 10-1 lead. Three straight singles from Austin Kay, Weinstein and Todd started the inning that saw an RBI double from Jimmy Jauregui, a two-RBI single from Clark, a sac fly from Cheynne Giles and a two-run homerun off the bat of Trey Saito to highlight the scoring.
The Lynx, however, would not go away quietly and slowly chipped away at the nine-run CLU lead. With one run in the fifth, two in the sixth on a home run of their own, and a four-run seventh inning, Rhodes cut the Kingsmen lead to two, 10-8.
CLU countered with closer Miguel Salud who shut down the Lynx in the final 2.1 innings, allowing no runs while striking out three and giving up just one hit to notch his 10th save of the year.
Freshman Scott Roberts (5-1) earned the win after starting the game and throwing 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits, four runs, four walks and striking out one. Troy Frazier and Jeff Rebello also pitched in relief out of the pen for the Kingsmen.
At the dish, CLU totaled 12 hits with two apiece from Weinstein, Todd, Jauregui and Clark. Weinstein and Gunter led the way with a team-high two runs while Clark added three RBIs and Saito drove in two.
Cal Lutheran (34-10) will await the winner of game nine between Rhodes and the winner of game eight, currently being played between Centenary (La.) and Concordia (Texas). The game time is set for 10:00 a.m. PST tomorrow, May 21, with a second game, if necessary, set for 2:00 p.m. The winner of the regional championship will advance to the NCAA Division III College World Series held in Appleton, Wis. from May 26-31 at Fox Cities Stadium.