MOOSIC, Pa -- Someone once said, "the third time is the charm". In the case of the Baldwin Wallace University baseball team (28-18 overall), the Yellow Jackets are hoping the fourth time is the charm.
The fourth-seeded Yellow Jackets defeated third-seeded Susquehanna, Pa. University (30-13 overall), 4-1, in the winner's bracket final at the 2014 NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional at PNC Field.
BW, 3-0 in the regional, is one win away from qualifying for its first-ever Division III World Series in Appleton, Wisconsin from May 23-27.
In beating Susquehanna, the Yellow Jackets now must await the winner of the loser's bracket final and beat them once to qualify for the World Series . The first regional championship game is set for 3:30 p.m. and the "if necessary" game will be played on Monday at 10:00 a.m.
BW's win, its 28th this spring, set a single-season school-record for victories in a season and broke the mark of 27 in both 2012 and 2013. In his first four seasons as head coach at BW, Brian Harrison has forged an impressive 99-61 record.
The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning. After there were two outs, senior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC third baseman Brad Gugliotta (Twinsburg) reached on an error and moved to second on a single by sophomore second baseman Mark Zimmerman (Akron/ Green). Then, junior All-OAC first baseman Kyle Chontos (Pickerington/ North) singled to left field to score Gugliotta and when the LF misplayed the ball, Zimmerman scored from first base for a 2-0 lead.
Susquehanna closed its deficit to 2-1 with a run in the top of the sixth. With one out and a runner on first base, the Susquehanna runner stole second base. When the catchers throw was wide of the bag and went off of junior shortstop Eric Murphy's (Brook Park/ Midpark) glove and into short left field, Zimmerman retrieved the ball and made a good throw to third base but the runner was called safe. The next Crusader hitter doubled to score the run.
BW gained a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth when sophomore All-OAC designated hitter Hunter Handel (Akron/ Green) singled, moved to second base when senior catcher Joe Hiller (Twinsburg) was hit in the helmet with a pitch, both runners moved up a base via a wild pitch and Handel scored on a sacrifice fly by Murphy.
The Yellow Jackets increased their lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth when Handel reached on an error. He was replaced by pinch-runner and junior Zach Ferster (Olmsted Falls), who advanced to third on a perfect hit-and-run by Hiller and scored on a wild pitch
At the plate, BW was led by Zimmerman who was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Six other Yellow Jackets each had a base hit.
On the mound, freshman right-hander Logan Heffernan (Lebanon) made his sixth start of the season and pitched the first six innings, allowed eight base hits, one run (earned), struck out four batters and issued one bases on ball (walk). He improved to 4-3 overall. Senior righty Jon Capadona (North Royalton) followed Heffernan to the mound and pitched a scoreless seventh inning. Sophomore "stopper" Brandon Cichocki (Walled Lake, Mich./ Central) pitched a perfect eighth and ninth innings and struck out one to earn his school-record-tying seventh save of the season.
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