CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The University of Dubuque baseball team rallied from a 4-0 deficit on Saturday afternoon to go on and beat Wartburg College, 11-6, to win the Iowa Conference Tournament Championship and clinch the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid.
How It Happened
-The Spartans fell behind for the first time in the tournament when Wartburg came up with a two out single to center in the top of the first to put the Knights ahead, 1-0.
-UD had runners on second and third in the bottom of the second but Will Doherty grounded out to the shortstop to end the inning.
-In the top of the third inning, the Knights were threating with two runners in scoring position with one out. A lineout to right field allowed the runner from third to score, however the Spartans appealed over to third base and the runner was ruled to have left early to take the run off the board and keep the score at 1-0.
-The Knights once again had runners on second and third with only one out, this time in the fifth. With the defense playing in, Wartburg hit a high chopper that got over Kellen Mitchell’s head at first base to score both runs.
-After a wild pitch in the top of the sixth gave Wartburg another run to give them a 4-0 lead, but the Spartans offense finally broke through in the bottom half. Dalton Garst lead off the inning with a walk, followed by a single to center from Kellen Mitchell and Justin Jensen was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs.
-Thomas Kempf delivered with a sacrifice fly to right field to get the Spartans on the board and leave runners on the corners with just one out. Zach McCoy followed Kempf with a groundball to the second baseman but a bobble took away any double play chance and cut the UD deficit to 4-2. Jarad Clevenger continued the rally with a single to center to plate Jensen and make it a one run ball game after six innings.
-Jack Lasswell led off the bottom of the seventh with a perfect bunt down towards third base and the throw to first sailed into left field allowing him to advance to second. Dalton Garst then singled into right center to put runners on the corners with no outs when Kellen Mitchell delivered a single to right field to tie the score at 4-4. Thomas Kempf continued his roll and came up with second sacrifice fly of the day to give the Spartans a 5-4 lead. All of this coming off of Wartburg closer Austin Bohling.
-Wartburg loaded the bases with one out in top 8. On a flair to the shortstop, UD's Zach McCoy made a diving attempt to his backhand but the ball came out of his glove as he hit the ground to even up the score at 5-5, but that was all the Knights would get.
-Tyler Imrich and Jack Lasswell began a big eighth inning rally with one out singles to get runners on first and second for Dalton Garst. Garst, the fifth year senior, singled right back up the middle to regain the lead for the UD. After a fly out, Justin Jensen sent a ball into right field to bring home two more runs. The Spartans closed the rally with three more runs on an infield single from Jarad Clevenger and a Will Doherty double to left field for a total of six runs in the inning.
-Nathan Schneiderman allowed one run in the top of the ninth but fanned the last batter which led to a dog pile on the mound.
At the Plate
Dalton Garst: 3-3, 2 BB, 3 R, 1 RBI
Thomas Kempf: 2-3, 2 RBI
Jack Lasswell, Jarad Clevenger, Kellen Mitchell, Will Dohery and Tyler Imrich all went 2-5.
Tyler Carlson: 6.0 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 11 H, 0 BB, 1 K
Nick Sewruk: 1.1 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 K
Nathan Schneiderman (W, 3-3) : 1.2 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 K
-Iowa Conference Tournament Champs for the first time in program history
-First NCAA Tournament Birth in program history.
-The Spartans will travel to Sauget, Illinois to play in the Central Regional, more info will come late Sunday night or Monday morning.
-The Spartans collected just three hits over the first five innings before exploding for 14 hits over the last three innings.