Westminster Baseball Comes to a Close in NCAA Tournament

Westminster Baseball Comes to a Close in NCAA Tournament

The Westminster baseball season came to a close on the second day of the NCAA Division III Central Regional Tournament. The Westminster Blue Jays fell to Wartburg College in the first elimination game, 8-0. 

The Blue Jays end their season with a 28-15 record, the best record since 2001.

After a scoreless first inning, Wartburg loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the second. A line drive to left center gave Wartburg the opportunity to score, but a diving catch by sophomore center fielder Nick Bohlmann halted their chance at scoring, keeping the score at 0-0. 

Senior pitcher Deion Hughes struck out two in the third and one in the fourth to help keep the Wartburg Knights from scoring. In the bottom of the fourth, Hughes led off the inning with a double to right center and advanced to third with senior Tyler Branneky's ground out. Hughes tried to score with a sacrifice fly from junior Nick Cessna, but barely missed the plate and was called out. 

The Blue Jay defense left two Knight's runners stranded in the fifth inning, but a two RBI single in the top of the sixth gave Wartburg a 2-0 advantage. They plated four more runs in the seventh inning to take a 6-0 lead. 

In the bottom of the seventh, Hughes once again led off, but this time with single to right field. He advanced to second with a Cessna ground out, but the inning came to a close with him stranded on second with a Bohlmann fly out. 

With junior Tanner Branneky on the mound, the Blue Jays held Wartburg to just one runner on base in the eighth. However, in the top of the ninth, Wartburg set a new single game record in the NCAA Tournament with seven doubles. Two of the doubles plated runs, giving them an 8-0 lead.

The Blue Jays were held to just three batters in the bottom of the ninth, ending the game with an 8-0 loss.

Hughes produced three of the team's four hits, and Bohlmann grabbed the other hit. Cessna recorded 11 putouts on defense.

Hughes (12-2) was credited with the loss on the mound. He pitched 6.1 innings and struck out five. Ta. Branneky pitched 1.2 innings in relief and struck out one, and freshman Alex Dickneite pitched 1.0 innings and struck out one.