|Carter McEachern celebrates with Andrew Waters after hitting a two run home run to ice the game for the Trinity (Texas) Tigers.
d3photography photo by Steve Frommell
By Austin Walthers
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Three players for Trinity combined for nine innings of shutout baseball to boost the Tigers over UW-La Crosse 8-0 in the second game of pool A which featured a rain delay of more than four hours in the 2016 NCAA D-III World Series at neurosciences group field.
Ryan Gray, who started the game and also came back after the rain delay to finish six innings, gutted out the win.
“It’s not just guts and it’s not just a mentality,” Tigers coach Tim Scannell said. “He [Gray] cares about his teammates. He is pitching for the other seniors in that dugout and this is all about caring for your teammates and wanting to perform.”
Trinity opened up scoring in the bottom of the first with a two out, one run single over second base by Nicholas Jewett and scored Colin Serkowski to take an early 1-0 lead.
“We felt like the team that scored first would gather momentum,” Scanell said. “To score first in tournament baseball relaxes people.”
Ryan Gray of Trinity gave up singles in the first two innings, but was able to get out of it with no further damage.
In the third, the Eagles’ Taylor Kohlwey extended his hitting streak to 50 games, but Gray stranded two runners to get out of a jam.
Jewett delivered again in the bottom third with two on with a single to right field to extend the Tigers’ lead 2-0 after three.
Gray put on two runners from a single and an error by the first baseman in the top of fourth, but struck out two out of the last three hitters to avoid giving up a run.
With runners on first in third and no outs, Carter McEachern of Trinity beat out a double play to pick up an RBI single and score Jose Santos in the bottom of the fourth to go up 3-0.
A rain delay of four hours and fifteen minutes stopped play and both teams chose to bring back their starting pitchers.
The Eagles put together a threat in the top of the sixth when they loaded the bases from a Ben Morgan single and two walks by Alex Brown and Nate Heili. Gray was then able to stop the threat by striking out leadoff man Joel Zyhowski.
“We didn’t get the two out hit like we normally get,” UW-La Crosse head coach Chris Schwarz said. “We had plenty of opportunities to score runs and if we would’ve broke the ice early it would’ve been different.”
Trinity continued to put on the insurance runs in the sixth inning when Andrew Waters ripped a triple to score Jose Santos, Waters then came home to score from McEachern’s second RBI of the game and he came around to score off of a shot from Austin Singer who was eventually thrown out at third trying to stretch a double into a triple.
McEarchern and the Trinity hitters also had to stay focused throughout the long rain delay.
“It’s the summer ball mentality,” McEarchern said. “You get rain delays of four or five hours. It was a huge game, obviously, and the mentality was to zero in on the game.”
Cordova drew a walk to lead off the seventh and Kohlwey connected on his third hit of the game which led to Gray being pulled for reliever Kevin Flores. With two inherited runners on and nobody out, Flores struck out two batters and forced a ground out to second to preserve the shutout.
Kohlwey recorded his 10th three-hit game of the season and he said he used the same approach as he normally does.
“Just looking for fastballs,” Kohlwey said. “Something up in the zone, something I can drive and try and put big swings on them.”
Scannell was overall very impressed with the way his starter threw against a high-scoring La Crosse team.
“What a performance against an unbelievable team in Wisconsin-La Crosse,” Scannell said. “But Gray had an answer for them, he was moving the ball in and out. I felt like the fast ball that would run away was very effective for him. The ability to throw the breaking ball was huge.”
Boushley was pulled after six innings of work and gave way to the La Crosse bullpen. Brock Rude opened up the seventh with a strike out, but the runner reached on a passed ball. The Eagles came back with a double play and another ground out to get out of the inning.
Flores continued to work for the Tigers and retired the side in the eight after giving up a leadoff double. Trinity then jumped on the Eagles’ third pitcher of the night, Nic Pierick, with a towering two-run home run to right field from McEachern for a total of four RBI in the game.
“He had thrown me a couple sliders earlier in the at-bats so I was hoping he was going throw another one and he happened to do that.” McEachern said.
Gianfranco Filippini closed out the game for Trinity throwing a 1-2-3 ninth inning to put UW-La Crosse in an elimination situation for the first time this season.
“The pressure is only going to come from ourselves,” Schwarz said. “It’s a baseball game like any other game. If we take it any other way, that’s undue pressure we’re putting on ourselves.”