CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Justin Griffin scored the tiebreaking run on a throwing error, and three Washington & Jefferson pitchers shut out Webster over the final seven innings for a 3-2 victory in an elimination game Saturday at the NCAA Division II World Series at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Presidents (38-12) move on to play another elimination game today (11 a.m.) against Chapman, Calif. It’s a rematch of the opening game of the World Series, when Chapman slipped past W&J 6-3 on Friday.
Webster’s season ends with a 37-13 record.
W&J struck first, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Webster responded with two runs in the top of the second, but the Presidents regained the lead in its half of the second.
The remainder of the game was pitchers’ duel as neither team scored in the final seven innings.
Nick Drake (5-2) started on the mound for W&J and went 5 1/3 innings. He gave up eight hits and two runs but did not walk a batter. Michael Zito followed with 1 2/3 innings of relief before Clay Martin pitched two scoreless innings for his 12th save. Martin tied the school record for career saves with 13.
The Presidents began the first inning with a walk by Dante Dalesandro and a single by Mullen Socha. Later in the inning, Adam Moore slapped a single to right center field, scoring both baserunners.
Webster tied it with RBI singles by Kyler Kent and Joe Swanson, but W&J went back on top in the bottom of the second. For the second consecutive inning, a leadoff walk led to a run. Griffin, the Presidents’ catcher, drew a five-pitch walk and moved to third base after consecutive outs. After Socha walked, Griffin gave W&J a 3-2 advantage when the Webster catcher threw the baseball into left field on a pickoff attempt as Socha stole second base.
From that point, the pitching took over. The top of the ninth inning did present some confusion. Webster had a runner on second base with one out when the home-plate umpire thought W&J had signaled for an intentional walk, which would have put the potential winning run on base. After Presidents coach Jeff Mountain questioned the umpire about the decision, the batter was returned from first base to home plate and eventually flied out for the second out. A groundout ended the game.
Webster outhit W&J, 10-4. Socha had two of the Presidents’ hits.