CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The Washington & Jefferson College baseball team saw its second appearance in the NCAA Division III College World Series come to an end Sunday afternoon with an 8-4 setback to No. 6 Chapman at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The Presidents finished 2019 with a 38-13 record and a 9-2 mark in the postseason, both setbacks coming against Chapman. The Panthers, who are 40-12, advanced in the World Series and defeated No. 23 UMass Boston, 8-4, to win the bracket.
Finding themselves down a run after the first inning, the Presidents rallied to take a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Joey Bolick began the push by drawing a walk. Bolick then scored two batters later on an RBI single from Justin Griffin.
W&J added two more runs on a two-out triple by Mullen Socha. With Griffin on second and Dante Dalesandro on first after a walk, Socha unloaded on a 2-2 pitch, sending it over the right fielder’s head. The hit was the 72nd of the season for Socha, which is the fourth most in a single-season in program history.
Over the next two innings, the Panthers retook the lead by taking advantage of a tight strike zone. Chapman plated one in the third and two in the fourth on three hits with two walks.
The Presidents battled back in the bottom of the fourth, bringing one run across to tie the game at 4-4. With the bases loaded and no outs, the Presidents were primed to score some runs. Following a pitching change, Josh Crummer singled to score Shayne Erny.
A double-play liner to second base halted the Presidents’ rally. Despite loading the bases again, W&J settled for one run in the inning.
The game was decided in the top of the sixth inning, as Chapman took a 6-4 lead in the frame. With two outs and the lone base runner getting on after an error, three straight singles broke the tie to give the Panthers a lead they would not relinquish.
W&J was unable to put pressure on Chapman after the fifth, as the Presidents had one base runner in the final five innings. The Panthers scored two more runs in the top of the ninth to secure an 8-4 victory.
The Presidents ended the day with five hits, all by different batters. Socha and Adam Moore each finished with extra-base hits. Socha had two RBI, giving him 51 in 51 games played. The 51 RBI ranks as the fifth most in a single-season in program history.
On the pitching mound, Jansen Eichenlaub made his first career start and allowed two runs (one earned) in 2.0 innings. Eichenlaub struck out three, walked three and did not allow a hit.
Out of the bullpen, Michael Zito suffered the loss by allowing two unearned runs over 2.0 innings. Seniors Garrett Harstine, Clay Martin and Mitchell Taufer appeared in relief. Taufer tossed a team-high 2.1 innings without allowing a run.
The W&J senior class compiled a 134-59-1 record, including a 26-10 mark in the postseason. The W&J senior class recorded two NCAA Division III College World Series appearances, two NCAA Division III Regional Championships and a pair of Presidents’ Athletic Conference Tournament Championships.