Cleburne, Texas – Trinity's fourth-ranked baseball team won the 2019 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship after beating ninth-ranked Texas Lutheran University twice in the SCAC Tournament on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers began the day with a 9-3 win over the Bulldogs, forcing a winner-take-all game two on the final day of the tournament. Trinity wrapped up the title by holding on in a wild 6-5 win that came down to the wire.
Trinity scored a run on Mason Meredith's single in the first inning of the second game, and that 1-0 lead held up as the two teams had just two hits each over the first four innings.
The Tigers strung three hits together in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by RBI singles from Logan Morrison and Jake Martin that put Trinity in front 3-0.
Texas Lutheran finally got on the board in the sixth, picking up two hits and taking advantage of three wild pitches from Trinity to make it a 3-2 ball game.
The Bulldogs tied the game with a two-out RBI triple in the eighth, then scored the go-ahead run on another wild pitch that gave Texas Lutheran its first lead of the day at 4-3.
Trinity got the first two runners on in the bottom of the inning, setting the table for Rafe Chaumette's game-tying single. Two batters later, Dalys Binder put the Tigers back in front 6-4 with his game-winning two-run double to left-center field.
Texas Lutheran didn't go quietly in the ninth, getting runners on the corners with two outs. A balk brought home a run to make it 6-5, and a walk put the winning run on base.
Trinity's Jeff Lonnecker was able to get the final out, though, sending the Tigers onto the field in celebration of the SCAC Championship.
Earlier in the day, Trinity used a five-run second inning to jump out in front of the opening game on Sunday.
The Tigers hammered out 18 hits in the first game, including four extra-base hits.
Trinity improves to 34-10 overall this season, as well as a 3-3 split against Texas Lutheran. The Bulldogs fell to 31-12 on the year.
Today marked the 11th time in 28 SCAC Tournaments that a team forced the "if necessary" game, and it is just the fourth time a team has won twice on the final day to win the title. Trinity was also the last SCAC team to do so, defeating Centenary (LA) College twice in 2015.
Trinity has now won 12 SCAC Championships, though this is the first title for the Tigers since the 2016 season.
Logan Morrison went 3-6 in the opening game and 2-4 in the finale, tallying a total of three runs and two RBI in the two games.
Dalys Binder enjoyed a three-hit opening game, and his only hit of game two was the game-winning double that drove in two runs.
Jake Martin had two hits in each game, while Mason Meredith had three hits on the day.
James Nittoli got things started for Trinity on the mound, allowing just two runs (one earned) on four hits over 5.1 innings, but he wound up without a decision.
Jeff Lonnecker (5-1) pitched the final 1.1 innings in relief to earn the win, giving up one just one run on two hits to earn his second victory of the tournament.
Jack Wisniewski started the day with a 3-5 performance, driving in three runs and scoring another to spark Trinity's offense.
Brannen Caraway was 2-4 with two doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored in the opener. MJ Metz also had two hits in the first game of the day.
Arjun Thakar (2-1) earned the win with a solid outing, giving up three runs on nine hits over 8.0 innings. Matthew Thomas finished off the game with a 1-2-3 ninth to set up game two.
Trinity earns the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs and will compete in the Regionals May 17-19. The official announcement from the NCAA will be on Monday, May 13.