HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. - Sophomore Reece Yeargain (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) ripped a two-run homer in the sixth as the top-seeded Randolph-Macon baseball team went ahead to stay in a 4-3 win over No. 4 Christopher Newport Saturday on Day 3 of the NCAA Tournament's South Regional at Ting Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets (34-7-1) advance to the Championship Game on Sunday, one win away from their first regional crown and initial trip to the Division III College World Series. The Captains (34-11) face the winner of TCNJ and LaGrange later this evening for the second championship spot, with that team needing two wins on Sunday to claim the regional title.
After sitting through a four-and-a-half-hour rain delay, R-MC started the scoring in the bottom of the first. With one away, junior Jeff Butler (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) reached on a one-out error and moved to second when senior Cole Migliorini (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) drew a walk. Senior Rick Spiers (South Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) singled to left to drive in Butler with the game's first run. Following a wild pitch, senior Joseph Tuzzolo (Newport News, Va./Menchville) brought Migliorini home on a groundout as the Yellow Jackets took a 2-0 lead.
CNU used a two-run homer in the fifth and an RBI double in the sixth to take a 3-2 edge. In the bottom of the sixth, Tuzzolo fell behind 0-2 before drawing a leadoff walk. CNU brought in a lefty from the pen and Yeargain belted a homer to left, his seventh long ball of the season, as R-MC reclaimed the lead at 4-3.
The Captains threatened in the next two innings. An error and a sac bunt in the seventh put the tying run on second, but senior Christian Cok (Chester, S.C./Lewisville) rolled a pair of groundouts to halt the rally. In the eighth, a one-out double again put a Captain in scoring position. Cok recorded a strikeout and senior Cody Thompson (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) got a flyout to left to end the inning. Thompson retired the side in order in the ninth to record his fourth save.
Sophomore Matthew Nickles (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) earned his second straight win against CNU. He worked six innings with four hits, three runs, three walks and four strikeouts. Cok had one hit and two strikeouts in 1.2 innings before Thompson retired the final four batters.
R-MC started a regional 3-0 for the second time in the past three years. The Yellow Jackets had a single one-run game in its first 38 contests this year, while three of their past four have been one-run affairs. Two of R-MC's three regional wins have been one-run victories.
Cok made his 72nd career appearance, a program record. Thompson made his team-leading 18th appearance of the season. Sophomore Ryan Duphorn (Erial, N.J./Paul VI) walked in the fifth, reaching base safely for the 69th straight game.