(photos by D3photography.com)
APPLETON, Wis. - Senior Rick Spiers (South Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) lined an inside-the-park home run and drove in four as the top-seeded Randolph-Macon baseball team fifth-seeded Texas-Tyler 6-1 Sunday evening at Fox Cities Stadium on Day 3 of the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship.
The Yellow Jackets (38-8-1) will face the Patriots (37-18) again on Monday at 1 p.m. ET to determine the winner of Pool A and a berth in the World Series championship series.
Sophomore right-hander Michael Zubovich (Chantilly, Va./Freedom) allowed six hits, all singles, and one run in 6.1 innings with one walk and three strikeouts to raise his record to 4-0.
Junior Patrick Solomita (Chesterfield, Va./Manchester) retired the final two batters in the seventh, while senior Christian Cok (Chester, S.C./Lewisville) fanned three in a scoreless eighth, and senior Cody Thompson (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) worked a hitless ninth to secure the win. UTT scored 17 runs in its first two World Series games, but was held to just one. The Patriots stranded 11.
After a pair of scoreless frames, R-MC broke through in the top of the third. Sophomore Ryan Duphorn (Erial, N.J./Paul VI) drew a two-out walk to reach base for the 74th consecutive game. A base hit by junior Jeff Butler (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) moved Duphorn to second and a single to left by senior Cole Migliorini (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) drove in Duphorn with the game's first run. The catcher had an errant throw trying to pick off Butler at second, as Butler and Migliorini both moved up 90 feet. Spiers lined a ball to the 405-mark in right center and sped around the bases for a three-run inside-the-park home run, giving the Yellow Jackets a 4-0 advantage. It was the fifth homer of the season for Spiers.
R-MC added to its lead in the fifth. Butler had a leadoff single to short and Migliorini singled off the foot of the pitcher. After failing twice to get down a sacrifice bunt, Spiers singled to center to plate Butler and extend the lead to 5-0.
UT Tyler threatened in the sixth with a leadoff single and an error to start the frame. Zubovich (left) got a lineout to left, a groundout to first and a nice play by sophomore shortstop Zach Evans (Fort Mill, S.C./Seneca) to end the rally.
The Patriots finally scored a run in the seventh to avoid the shutout. R-MC added an insurance run in the ninth. Evans was initially called out on a close play at first. The umpired discussed the play and Evans was ruled safe as a result of the first baseman not having his foot on the bag. Duphorn looked to have beat out a bunt at first, but was called out. The sacrifice moved Evans to second. A pair of wild pitches brought Evans home to make it a 6-1 contest.
Butler went 2 for 3 with two walks and two runs, while Tuzzolo went 3 for 4 with a walk. Migliorini went 2 for 4 with one run and one RBI.