Randolph-Macon rebounds with Saturday win

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By Jim Dixon

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- Randolph-Macon built on late runs in Friday's loss and came out slugging in a 11-4 win to extend their season one more day and send Oswego State home with a 0-2 showing in the 2018 NCAA D-III College World Series at neuroscience group field at Fox Cities Stadium.

Jeff Butler who followed Ryan Duphorn's 4-for-4 Friday in the lineup with a goose egg, turned it around with a 5-for-6 day on Saturday. Butler is the 16th player in the World Series with five hits in a game and the first since Kevin Foley of Wheaton (Mass.) did it in 2012.

Jeff Butler was in on four double plays for the Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets, along with tying the World Series record with five hits.
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
Oswego's John Barnes finished the tournament 5-for-8 with three runs scored, three RBIs and 12 putouts in the outfield in two losses for the Lakers.
photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com

"Anytime you can score runs and put pressure on opposing teams that helps you in the game your in and future games," said Randolph-Macon coach Ray Hedrick. "I think you got a better indication of what we are about. You saw it today that we put some good at-bats together."

R-MC scored two late runs in its Friday loss to Misericordia and built on that to come out with five runs in the opening two innings.

"What helped us today was to hit first and to put quality at-bats together," said Hedrick.

Butler doubled and Cole Migliorini singled to put runners on the corners in the first inning. Rick Spiers reached on an error by the second baseman as Barnes came home. Ryan Yeargain and Cole Grinde brought home runs with singles as the Yellow Jackets opened the game with a 3-0 lead.

"We had first-game nerves at the World Series, the first time in program history," said Butler. "Now that first game is over, a whole lot of us relaxed and found the barrel on the ball and performed."

Michael Nickles opened the second with a safety to left and took second on a sacrifice bunt. Butler knocked home Nickles with his second hit of the day. Cole Migliorini's single plated Butler for a 5-0 lead.

Oswego answered immediately with a run of their own when the first three batters singled to load the bases. The Yellow Jackets turned the double play as John Barnes scored from third.

"I told our infielders that you will have balls on the ground," said R-MC starter Nick Roth. "When we got out of that bases loaded, I'd trade a double play for a run any day."

The Lakers continued on the comeback trail with three in the third to get within one run.

Zach Whelan stroked a single to right and scampered to third as the ball skipped past a diving outfielder. Ryan Enos's double down the left field line scored Whelan. After Barnes got his second hit and first RBI, he found the plate on Myles Kutscher double.

The Yellow Jackets responded with a two spot to open the fourth that took over any momentum the Lakers had built to draw close.

Ryan Duphorn walked for the second time this series and scored on Butler's second double of the day. Butler moved to third on a fly out and scored when a ball in the dirt eluded the catcher, skipping just far enough for Butler to slide in safely.

"We battled back to get it to 5-4," said Oswego coach Scott Landers. "You cannot give up runs early and fight your butt off to come back and give uo a couple runs. When you do that, it takes a toll on your lineup."

R-MC continued to add to its run totals while utilizing the pitcher's best friend, the double play, to kill potential Laker rallies.

"Coach makes us work on double plays every day and they are big outs," said Butler.

"[Double plays] are spectacular," said Roth. "I have confidence they will be able to turn it. In the middle of the game I had gotten into a groove and if it [a double play] did not happen, the momentum might have switched."

Butler led all Yellow Jackets with five hits, four runs scored and two RBIs, Migliorini and Joseph Tuzzolo had three hits. Barnes had three hits for the Lakers with Kutscher and Whelan with two. Barnes scored twice.

Roth earned his eleventh win with four runs (all earned) on ten hits and no walks in seven innings. He struck out five. Christian Cok and Cullen Moore each pitched an inning in relief. Reston Pettit took the loss, allowing five runs (all earned) on seven hits and two walks.

R-MC will play at 10 a.m. Sunday against the loser of the Texas-Tyler and Misericordia game. Oswego ends its season with a 30-14 record.