Texas-Tyler rallies past Whitworth in NCAA Regional
SPOKANE, Wash. — Texas-Tyler scored four precious runs in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game in which runs were hard to come by, pulling out a 6-4 win over Whitworth on Friday night in the NCAA Division III West Regional at Avista Stadium.
The Patriots improved to 32-17 overall and 2-0 in the regional to move into a winners’ bracket contest against Trinity (Texas) on Friday at noon.
The Pirates dropped to 30-12 and will face fellow Northwest Conference member Pacific Lutheran on Friday at 3:15 in a loser-out contest.
Both starting pitchers were strong for seven innings and neither allowed a run until Tyler’s Brady McCoy hit his fifth homer of the season in the bottom of the fifth to give UTT a 1-0 lead.
Ryan Bird’s RBI single in the top of the sixth capped a two-out rally and tied the game for Whitworth. But the Patriots went back in front 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth on Alex Bishop’s RBI double.
Whitworth retied the game in the top of the seventh when Jordan McGowan singled in Anthony Bonilla. McGowan was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double, which ended the inning.
But starting pitcher T.J. Orchard retired UTT in order in the bottom of the seventh, including his only two strikeouts of the game, to keep the momentum in Whitworth’s favor.
The Pirates responded with two runs in the top of the eighth to take a 4-2 lead. Daniel Casanova tripled to deep center field to drive in Joel Condreay, who had doubled. Casanova scored on Nate Lamberty’s sacrifice fly.
But the Patriots grabbed momentum back in the bottom of the eighth. Graham Welch singled and took second on a wild pitch with one out. Blake Wilson’s bloop single brought Welch home, pulling UTT within one run and driving Orchard from the game. A walk and infield single loaded the bases before reliever JD Page got the second out at the plate on a fielder’s choice comebacker to the mound.
Daniel Williams then delivered a single to left field that drove in two of the three runners. The third was able to score at the end of the play when the Whitworth throw from left field was wild, giving UTT its final two-run cushion.
Reese Read retired the Pirate side in the ninth for his sixth save.
Michael Blevins was strong on the hill for the Patriots as the starting pitcher. He allowed two runs on ten hits with seven strikeouts, but did not factor in the decision. Chris Stodolka (1-0) picked up the win in relief despite giving up two runs in his one inning of work.
Orchard went 7.1 innings for Whitworth, giving up four runs on seven hits. But Page (0-2) took the loss after allowing two runs on two hits in 0.2 innings.
Casanova went 3-4 for the Pirates.