Mansfield, Conn. – Junior Sean Ryan (Norton, Mass.) represented the game-winning run as the top-seeded Wheaton College Lyons scored four times in the top of the ninth to erase a two-run deficit and emerge with a 6-4 victory over the No. 3-seeded Trinity College Bantams in the winner's bracket finals of the 2012 NCAA Division III Baseball Regional Championship Tournament this afternoon. The Lyons improve to 37-8 on the season and record the second-highest win total since 2002. Wheaton is also 3-0 in the regional for the first time since 2006 when the team was in the College World Series. Thehe Bantams, who fall to 34-10 with their first loss in 12 games, hold the advantage over Wheaton winning five of the seven meetings in the NCAA tournament. Trinity squares off with the winner of the nightcap between St. Joseph's (Maine) and Western New England tomorrow at noon. The winner of that contest will take on the Lyons in the potential regional title game slated to begin at 3:30 p.m.
Wheaton trailed 4-2 heading into the top of the ninth inning. Senior John Keating (Duxbury, Mass.) drew a leadoff walk and made his way to third following a single by freshman Tyler Contillo (Montville, Conn.) and a sacrifice bunt by senior Hal Landers (Salem, N.H.). An infield Bantam miscue allowed Keating to reach home plate before Trinity freshman Adam Moossman (East Northport, N.Y.) gunned down a runner at home on a fielder's choice put into play by Ryan for the second out of the frame. Senior Dan Haugh (Andover, Mass.) followed with a walk to load the bases setting the stage for an RBI walk by freshman Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, R.I.) to tie the game at four apiece. Ryan represented the game-winning run as he would cross the plate along with Haugh for the 6-4 advantage. A foul out ended the spurt. In the bottom of the stanza senior David Casanova (Bristol, Conn.) drew a walk to begin the frame and stole second but was stranded on the base paths as the game closed with a pair of fly outs and a ground out back to the pitcher.
Wheaton began the game leaving five runners on base in the first two innings while the Bantams went down in order in their opening frame. Trinity opened the scoring in the bottom of the second as junior Stephen Rogers (Watertown, Mass.) sent a one-out triple to right center and was promptly plated by Moossmann who grounded out to short. The Bantams added another tally in the fourth as freshman Kyle Decker (Simsbury, Conn.) lifted a sacrifice fly to center field. Wheaton evened the contest courtesy of a one-out two-RBI double by Ryan in the fifth. Senior Kevin Mortimer (Spencer, Mass.) cleared the right field fence early in the Trinity eighth to put the Bantams back in front. A miscue later in the frame allowed the Bantams regain a two-run advantage.
Wheaton ended up leaving ten men on base while Trinity abandoned eight baserunners. Seven different Lyons recorded a hit as Ryan drove in two runs and junior Eric Jensen (Gorham, N.H.) scampered home twice. Rogers led all batters with a 2-for-3 day at the plate to go along with a pair of runs scored for the Bantams. Senior David Longley (Brunswick, Maine) picked up the victory on the mound as he replaced classmate Nolan Corr (Somersworth, N.H.) who allowed four runs on six hits in 7.1 innings. Sophomore Ryan Grant (Easton, Mass.) claimed his second save of the regional. Trinity junior Ben Goldberg (Plainview, N.Y.) was tagged with the loss as he allowed the final two unearned Wheaton runs. Sophomore RHP Peter Burrows (Floral Park, N.Y.) went 8.1 innings surrendering four runs, three earned, on seven hits. Sophomore Patrick Carbone (North Wales, Mass.) induced the foul out to end the Wheaton outburst in the ninth. Corr and Burrows each struck out two batters in the contest.