The 12th ranked Webster University baseball team opened up NCAA play with a 7-6 win over Ripon College (WI) at the Augustana Regional in Moline, IL, on May 15. Down 4-0 in the third, Alex Kazmierski (SR, Triton College, IL) keyed a Gorlok six-run rally with a grand slam to give Webster the lead and closer Jason Gray (JR, North Central CC, MO) shut the door on the Red Hawks in the eighth and ninth innings.
Webster's offense revved it up in the third as the Gorloks had six straight hits to open the frame. Ryan Hall (JR, Univ. of Central Arkansas, MO) and Cody Stevenson (SR, Centralia HS, IL) singled to start the inning. Corey Lasky (JR, College of Lake County, IL) singled in Hall, and Taylor Stoulp (JR, St. Mary's HS, MO) singled in Stevenson to make it 4-2. After Mike Rainbolt (SR, Kankakee CC, IL) had a bunt single to load the bases, Kazmierski cleared the left field wall with his shot to make it 6-4 Webster.
The Gorloks would load the bases again in the third, as Mitchell Bonds (SR, Kankakee CC, IL) singled, Ian Foege (JR, Eureka HS, MO) walked, and Hall had his second hit of the inning...but would score no more. Webster picked up another run after three straight hits by Stoulp, Rainbolt, and Kazmierski, to open the fourth, with Kazmierski picking up his fifth RBI on the afternoon.
Ripon grabbed a 2-0 lead on a single, triple, and double to start the second inning. A two-out single made it 3-0 and the Red Hawks would add another run in third off Webster starter Isaac Behme (SO, Harrisburg HS, IL), who would earn the win. Behme toughed it out till he was relieved by Ryan Martinez (SR, Illinois Valley CC) in the seventh, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk, and striking out six in six innings of work. He improved to 9-3 on the season and tied Steven Dooley (SR, Oran HS, MO) for the team lead in wins.
The Red Hawks made it exciting, scoring a run in the seventh and adding another in the eighth before Gray doused the fire for the Gorloks. Ripon had two batters reach on Webster errors to start the eighth, plating a run, and had runners at first and second with one out, when Gray was summoned to replace Martinez. Gray promptly picked off the runner at first and got the next batter to ground out to second.
In the ninth, Gray retired the first two batters but a walk and hit batsman put two aboard for Ripon befored Gray coaxed a fly out to right field to end the game. For Gray, it was his fifth save and lowered his microscopic earned run average to 0.36. He has allowed only one earned run in 24 2/3 innings pitched in twenty appearances in 2013.
Kazmierskin wound up two for four, with the HR and five RBIs, and a walk. Stoulp was two for five, with two runs scored and an RBI and Lasky was two for four with a run scored, stolen base, and an RBI.
Webster is 33-9 on the season while Ripon falls to 24-15. The Gorloks will meet the winner of the Concordia-Chicago/Augustana game at 3:30 p.m. on May 16.