Leon Stimpson went 2-for-5 with three RBIs as the Alvernia baseball team posted 17 hits to power past Johns Hopkins, 10-5, in the first round of the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Wednesday. The Blue Jays will play Penn State-Harrisburg tomorrow morning at 10:00 am.
After Hopkins (36-9) drew within one run, 3-2, in the top of the fourth, the Crusaders put the game out of reach with a six-run frame to open a 9-2 lead. Stimpson belted a double to the left center wall to score two runs early in the inning, before the Crusaders scored four runs on four consecutive at-bats.
Hopkins was held largely at bay offensively for most of the game by Alvernia starting pitcher Mike Weinhold. The Crusader ace went eight innings, striking out seven batters and allowing three earned runs.
Alvernia (34-9) took the early advantage in the bottom of the first when Chris Ray doubled to left field and Billy Turner drew a walk. Matt Patterson then knocked a single up the middle to score Ray and give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead.
The Crusaders jumped on starting pitcher Tyler Goldstein again in the second after getting runners on base with a single and a hit batsman. Chris Burns advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, and Brian Witkowski followed by laying down a perfect safety bunt to score Richie Ricciardi from third. Stimpson then slapped an RBI double down the left field line to put Alvernia ahead, 3-0.
The second inning was on the verge of disaster for the Blue Jays, but Goldstein made a tremendous play on another safety bunt attempt by Alvernia. The junior pitcher fielded the bunt and flipped the ball to catcher Ryan Zakszeski to tag out the charging Crusader.
After going perfect through the first three innings, Hopkins finally got to pitcher Mike Weinhold as Adam Weiner and Colin McCarthy led off the fourth with back-to-back singles. Zakszeski drew a walk to load the bases, and Wilhelm knocked in Weiner with a single through the left side. The Jays' then cut their deficit to one, 3-2, with a Kyle Neverman walk.
Hopkins answered in the fifth by loading the bases, but could only scrape one run with a Lynch single to right field that scored Weiner. The Crusaders promptly responded with a run of their own in the sixth after an RBI single by Brian Witkowski to make the score 10-3.
After a short rain delay before the ninth, the Blue Jays made a desperate attempt to comeback by loading the bases. The rally saw two runs cross the plate to cut the deficit to five, 10-5, but Alvernia managed to close the game without any further damage.
Weiner was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs for the Blue Jays, while Lynch knocked in two runs to surpass the 50-RBI plateau. Goldstein was tagged for five earned runs in just three innings.