(WASHINGTON, Pa.) – The second-seeded Thomas More College baseball team won its fifth Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) Championship today (Saturday, May 12, 2018) as it defeated top-ranked Washington & Jefferson College, 7-5, in the championship game at Ross Memorial Park in Washington, Pennsylvania.
With the win, the Saints improve to 24-18 and earn the PAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. The championship's regionals are May 17-21 and the NCAA will release the regional locations early Monday morning (May 14). The championship title was also the Saints' 57th and final PAC championship title since joining the conference during the 2005-06 academic year as they are leaving the PAC this summer. With the loss, the Presidents fall to 28-16-1.
W&J took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. The Saints responded in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 1-1 when senior third baseman Tyler Smith (Independence, Ky./Simon Kenton) scored on a run batted-in single by junior shortstop Jacob Whitford (Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands).
Thomas More scored three in the third inning to take a 4-1 lead as junior pitcher Sean Lawrence (Independence, Ky./Simon Kenton) scored in a RBI single by junior right fielder Joshua Boeckman (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) and then Whitford had a two-run triple scoring Smith and Boeckman. The Saints extended the lead to 5-1 in the fourth winning when senior second baseman Ben Laumann (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) scored on a ground out by junior catcher Sam Hauer (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder).
Smith scored on a RBI single by Whitford to increase Thomas More's lead to 6-1 in the fifth inning. W&J plated a run in the top of the sixth to cut the lead to 6-2. In the bottom half of the inning, junior first baseman Nick Jenkins (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley) scored on a fielder choice by first-year left fielder Brady Reynolds (White Oak, Ohio/LaSalle) to extend the lead to 7-2.
The Presidents scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to cut Thomas More's lead to 7-5. The Saints would then hold the W&J scoreless to post the 7-5 victory
Lawrence earned the win as he went six and a third innings and gave up five runs (all earned) on 10 hits and struck out two. Sophomore pitcher Justin Ward (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) earned the save as he pitched two and two-third innings shutout innings and struck out four.
Whitford led the team at the plate as he was three-for-three with a triple and four RBI. Laumann was two-for-four with a run scored, Lawrence was two-for-four with a run scored and Smith was two-for-four with three runs scored.