HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. - The top-seeded Randolph-Macon baseball team topped fourth-seeded Christopher Newport 11-2 Sunday afternoon at Ting Stadium to win its first NCAA Regional title and earn its first trip to the Division III College World Series.
The Yellow Jackets (35-7-1) went 4-0 in the Holly Springs Regional, including a pair of victories over the Captains (35-12).
The R-MC offense had just three multi-run innings in its first 25 innings of regional play, one three-run inning and a pair of two-run frames. The Yellow Jackets exploded in Game 4, putting up six in the first and four in the fourth for an 11-0 lead.
R-MC jumped on CNU quickly in the top of the first. Junior Jeff Butler (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) had a one-out single to center to start the rally. Butler moved to third on a base hit by senior Cole Migliorini (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge), who took second on the throw. Senior Rick Spiers (South Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) walked to load the bases and senior Joseph Tuzzolo (Newport News, Va./Menchville) drew a base on balls to force in the first run. Sophomore Reece Yeargain (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) ripped a two-run single through the left side to push the advantage to 3-0. Junior Cole Grinde (Woodford, Va./Carolina) walked to reload the bases. Sophomore Michael Nickles (Stafford, Va/Colonial Forge) hit a grounder to short that could not be fielded cleanly, plating two more to make it 5-0. With two away, sophomore Ryan Duphorn (Erial, N.J./Paul VI) singled up the middle to bring home Nickles, extending the lead to 6-0. Duphorn reached base for the 70th consecutive game.
Sophomore Michael Zubovich (Chantilly, Va./Freedom) retired the Captains in order in the bottom of the first. The R-MC pitching staff did not allow a first-inning base runner in four NCAA regional games.
Migliorini laced a leadoff triple to right center in the second, his team-leading fourth three-bagger of the season, and scored on a wild pitch to give the Yellow Jackets a 7-0 advantage.
R-MC added to its lead in the fourth. Tuzzolo had a one-out double and scored on a two-out single by Grinde to make it 8-0. Nickles followed with ninth home run of the season to make it a 10-0 contest. Sophomore Zach Evans (Fort Mill, S.C./Seneca) walked and came home on a triple by Duphorn to extend the lead to 11-0.
CNU tallied its two runs in the sixth.
Nickles knocked in three and scored twice, while Duphorn had three hits and drove in two. Migliorini went 3 for 5 with two runs.
Zubovich (3-0) worked six innings with five hits, two runs, two walks and five strikeouts.
Migliorini, Evans, junior Colin Selby (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) and junior Nick Roth (Henrico, Va./Benedictine) were named to the All-Regional team.
R-MC earned its 35th victory of the season, tying the 2016 team for wins in a season. The Yellow Jackets' Class of 2018 has 122 career wins, also a program record.