By Jim Dixon
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Aaron Wong had another big extra-base hit to put Chapman ahead and Jonathan Hernandez pitched eight strong innings as the Panthers defeated the Beacons 8-4 to advance to the D3 Championship Series. The D3CS will start on Tuesday at 11 a.m.
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"They just called a conference and when the coaches call a conference, you are kinda telling your guy, hey pound the zone here, you don't want to get behind on this guy," said Wong. "I took the same approach as last night. I came out swinging. I got a good pitch to hit."
|Aaron Wong had a big day at the plate with the game winning hit and on the field with a double play that ended Mass Boston's final threat to a Chapman win in the eighth.
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
You dream about getting this far, to play for a national championship," said Chapman head coach Scott Laverty. "You see what went on over the last three, three and a half days. To be one of the last two teams standing, I am humbled and excited."
Jonathon Hernadez pitched 8 innings, giving the Chapman bull pen a rest. He allowed four runs, three earned, on 8 hits as the first pitcher in the tournqment to win twice here in Cedar Rapids.
Mass-Boston got on board in the first when Eddie Riley blasted a home run into the short porch in left field with Josh Lopez sitting on second. Lopez had doubled down the left line.
"Another really good ball game," said Mass Boston head coach Brendan Eygabroat. "Eddie put a great swing on a ball after Lopez got us going with a double. It felt like we got some early momentum, Think Arruda was pretty sharp but they had those back-to-back crooked numbers where we gave up the two threes and that was the big story."
Chapman scored the next eight runs.
Henry Zeisler opened the second with a walk. On a hit and run play, the ball off Joe Jimenez's bat passed just over the second baseman's glove, putting runners on the corners. Mack Cheli single plated Zeisler with Jimenez advancing to third. Drew Littwin's sacrifice fly brought home Jimenez to tie the score at 2-2.
"My swing feels good and I am seeing the ball well," said Zeisler.
Mass Boston got two quick outs to start the fourth inning. Jarod Penniman singled up the middle and was moved to second on Littwin's free pass. Wong's drive over the centerfielders head scored both with Wong winding up on third. Alex Tsuruda finished the scoring with a double to left, driving home Wong.
Tristan Kevitch and Zeisler both singled at the start of the fifth. Kevitch scored and Zeisler took second when a balk was called on the Mass Boston starter, Tyler Arruda. Cheli's drive to right center split the fielders and despite stumbling past second, found safety on third. The fates favored Chapman in an aborted safety squeeze. With Cheli bearing down from third, the pitcher bounced the ball in the dirt and Cheli slid in safely for just his third stolen base on four attempts.
"If someone said I would hit a triple and then steal home in the College World Series, I would say you were lying," said Cheli.
The Beacons scratched runs in the six and eight innings but it was not enough. Lopez singled through the middle and moved to second when Riley walked. Nick Contaro hit a ball that nicked the glove of the Chapman first baseman and fell into short right to score Lopez. Lopez was back on base in the eight with a sharp line drive to right center. Up next was Boudrias who drove his ball into the gap to score Lopez.