Still alive! Randolph-Macon forces extra game

More news about: Randolph-Macon | Texas-Tyler

By Jim Dixon

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- Randolph-Macon won their second game of the day and forced a winner-take-all contest with a 6-1 win over Texas-Tyler in the 2018 NCAA D-III College World Series at neuroscience group field at Fox Cities Stadium. The same two teams will meet at noon Monday to decide which team will win Bracket 1 and advance to the D-III Championship Series.

Randolph-Macon had just scored its first run when Rick Spiers came to bat. His drive to right center was returned back to the infield but not before two base runners and Spiers crossed the plate in a World Series rarity, an inside-the-park home run.

Rick Spiers slides in safely, setting off a celebration
Randolph-Macon celebrates as Rick Spiers slides in safely with an inside-the-park home run, part of the Yellow Jackets' four-run third.
Photo by Steve Frommell,
Rick Spiers' reaction
Rick Spiers' face says it all as his sprint around the bases fired up the Yellow Jackets and helped them stave off elimination. 
Photo by Kylie Bridenhagen,

"They took advantage of a couple of mistakes we made and did some damage," said Texas Tyler head coach Brent Porche. "They jumped out to a lead and put us in a position where we had not been in a while - pressing at the plate. They came up with the big hit and we did not."

R-MC and UTT traded scoreless innings until the Yellow Jackets took the lead with four runs in the third. With two outs, UTT starter Austin Schneider hit Ryan Duphorn. Jeff Butler and Cole Migliorini added singles with Migliorini's plating Duphorn. Spiers sent a drive that split the right and center fielders to the 405 sign in the deepest part of the park. The ball was retrieved and bobbled once before getting it back to the infield. Meanwhile, Spiers was running the bases and as he rounded second, the third base coach was waving him home. Spiers easily beat the throw to the plate for an inside-the-park home run.

"My first at-bat Schneider got me," said Spires. "I knew I needed to look for a fastball and put a barrel on it and I did. I knew I had a standup triple and saw coach Ray (Hedrick) waving me in. I was confused for a second. I was not expecting that at all but I tried my hardest and trusted coach Ray."

The Yellow Jackets added their fifth run in the fifth inning on three consecutive singles by Butler, Migliorini, and Spiers.

While the RMC offense was adding runs to the board, RMC starter Michael Zubovich had the Patriots off balance, stranding six runners in six innings. 

"We needed Zubovich to pitch a competitive game against an undefeated team and he competed extremely well for our team," Hedrick said. "We put a four spot in the third and needed Zubovich to come out and throw a competitive inning and he did so for the next couple of innings."

"My curveball was effective and allowed me to mix in fastballs to sneak past hitters," said Zubovich.

Texas-Tyler finally got to Zubovich in the seventh. Blake Maddox, Henry Sanchez, and Jared Pauley all had singles with Pauley's making the score 5-1. Patrick Solomita took over on the mound and got two fly outs to keep the Yellow Jacket lead at four runs.

RMC added an uneaned run in the ninth for the final run of the game.

Zubovich earned the win, allowing one earned run on six hits and a walk in 6.1 innings. UTT starter Austin Schneider look the loss with five runs (all earned) on eight hits and three walks.

Tuzzalo led all hitters with three hits with Spiers adding a game high four RBIs. Butler scored twice. Bowie Farris had two hits for the Patriots.

Both teams will meet on Monday at noon to decide who will continue to a Tuesday doubleheader between the two bracket winners.

"We are just going to have to come out tomorrow and be competitive," said Hedrick. "It is a do-or-die game to get to the championship game."

"We have to come out tomorrow and try to execute better on the mound and hopefully jump out to a lead and give out pitchers breathing room," said Porche.