Panthers force win-or-go home game with UMB

Nick Garcia pitches the ball.
Nick Garcia (photo courtesy of Larry Radloff)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The Chapman University baseball team handed the University of Massachusetts Boston Beacons their first loss of the World Series earlier this afternoon, beating the side 8-4 in its second elimination game of the day. The Panthers had an explosive 10th inning to live to see another day of World Series baseball.

Chapman struck early, putting two runs on the board in the top of the first. With runners on first and second, senior Tristan Kevitch doubled to right center to score both runners. The Beacons answered in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single, cutting the Panthers lead to 2-1.

After a scoreless inning from junior starting pitcher Riley Glenn, junior Joe Jimenez doubled to left center in the top of the third, scoring freshman Brad Shimabuku and giving Chapman a two-run cushion. They added another run in the top of the fourth when freshman Drew Littwin scored on a crucial error from the second baseman.

 The Beacons responded in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single, cutting Chapman's lead to 4-2. After Glenn made quick work of the Beacons in the top of the fifth and retired the side, the righty gave up two runs in the sixth to tie the game. Junior Mitchell Briggs entered for his third career pitching appearance and got three outs to end the inning.

Sophomore Cody Turner entered in the seventh and put runners in scoring position with just one out. The reliever struck out the next two batters to end the inning and keep the score tied at 4-4.

Sophomore Nick Garcia entered in the top of the eighth and retired the side in both the eighth and ninth innings to bring the Panthers up to bat in the top of the 10th.

With the bases loaded and two outs, freshman Drew Littwin stepped up to the plate. The rookie drew a walk, earning the game-winning RBI to put the Panthers up 5-4. Next up was junior Aaron Wong with the bases still loaded. The second baseman singled to score two runs and Littwin scored on an error, giving Chapman their final 8-4 lead.

Garcia entered in the bottom of the 10th to preserve the victory, retiring the side for the fifth inning in a row to earn his ninth win this season. Garcia has not allowed a base runner in five innings pitched and he has stayed perfect this season at 9-0.

The Panther pitching staff combined for eight strikeouts tonight for 507 total strikeouts this season, breaking the NCAA Division III single-season strikeout record set in 1998 by North Carolina Wesleyan. The Panthers also broke the Chapman single-season record for games played set by the 2003 National Championship squad.

Zeisler continues to be hot and currently leads the World Series in hits, batting 3-for-5 on the night with a run scored. Kevitch and Wong each tallied two RBI in the effort. Wong also hit 3-for-5 to help lead Chapman.

The Panthers face off against the University of Massachusetts Boston again tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. CT. The winner of tomorrow's game goes on to play in the National Championship best-of-three series.

by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant

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