By Pat Coleman
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Matt Mulhearn and Fernando Burgos brought out a pitchers’ duel in Game 2 of the 2019 Division III World Series, but it wasn’t until after the starters were chased from the game that the game was decided, as Mass-Boston pushed across single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth to defeat Webster, 4-3.
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Mass-Boston moves into the winners’ bracket and faces Chapman, 6-3 victors vs. Washington & Jefferson, in Saturday’s second game, scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Webster and W&J will meet in an elimination game at 10 a.m.
|Ben Swords was out stealing after he overslid the bag in the eighth inning, in a tie game. He had a tough bottom of the eighth as well.
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
After Webster took a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth, Mass-Boston inched its way back into the game, taking advantage of an unearned run in the eighth and called on its All-America closer, Bobby Tramondozzi, to finish the game.
Mass-Boston took the lead after a crazy sequence in which Webster twice failed to capitalize on outs which the Beacons were trying to give them. Adrian Santiago hit Kyle Boudrias with a pitch to lead off the inning, then threw a ball into the back of Austin Cecere when Cecere had laid one down to sacrifice Boudrias over, putting runners on first and second. Then, with two on and nobody out, Eddie Riley laid down a bunt toward third, which hard-charging third baseman Ben Swords threw past the defender on the wheel play, out into the left-field corner.
Pinch-runner Ryan Leung, who would have been out on a good throw, instead came in to score the go-ahead run.
“We put down some good bunts, one of them with two strikes, which is never easy against a hard thrower like Santiago,” said Mass-Boston coach Brendan Eygabroat.
“Especially in that situation we definitely were going to bunt back to back times after the first one was not completed. We are an offense that will do whatever it takes to score.”
The Gorloks got on the board first after manufacturing a run in the third inning. Joe Swanson led off the frame by smacking a single to center and Matt Staker, the No. 8 hitter in the order, followed with a walk. Danny Strohm sacrificed the runners over and Aron Hopp hit a hard grounder to second to bring in Swanson for a 1-0 lead.
The Beacons evened things up in the bottom half with the bottom third of their order. Ryan McCormick, the No. 7 hitter, led off with a single to left and was sacrificed over to second. Charlie Huegi reached on a ball which Swords bobbled, and Nick Herzog mashed a ball past Swords to tie the game at 1-1.
Danny Brown beat out a grounder to short for a single to lead off the seventh inning and advanced to second when Kydes got hit on the wrist with a pitch. That set up Huegi to continue his great run in the month of May, as the No. 9 hitter smacked a ball into right field for a base hit, bringing Brown around with the tying run and chasing Mulhearn. Huegi went 1-for-3 with an RBI, finishing May 31 at .457 for the month after entering with a .241 average.
"It’s coming down the stretch for me. It’s my senior year," Huegi said. "I’m just trying to have fun and make the most of it. I think I’m just in one of these grooves where I’m seeing the ball really well."
In the middle innings, Mulhearn was dealing. The junior right-hander was successful in keeping the Beacons’ hitters off balance, and that was perhaps no more evident than in the bottom of the fourth inning. Kyle Boudrias led off the inning with a ringing double to right-center field, but Mulhearn did all the ringing thereafter. He rung up Nick Cotraro and, after Eddie Riley flew to center, Brown struck out looking as well. They were his only two strikeouts of the game.
Fernando Burgos got the start and went seven innings, allowing three runs for Mass-Boston. Tramondozzi went the final inning and a third and got the win to improve to 4-2. Santiago gave up one unearned run in one and two-thirds innings to take the loss.