Hutchinson, Kan. – The 2012 opening round of the NAIA national tournament held at Hobart-Detter Field in Hutchinson, Kan. is down to three teams after fourth-seeded Tabor College defeated second-seeded Judson University by the score of 8-5. With the loss, the Eagles were eliminated from the tournament, leaving the Bluejays along with top-seeded Oklahoma Baptist University, and third-seeded Rogers State University vying for a spot in the Avista-NAIA College World Series in Lewiston, ID.
With the win, Tabor advances in the losers half of the bracket and will take on Oklahoma Baptist University at 3 p.m. Saturday May 12, in a rematch of game three in the tournament which the Bison won 10-6. The winner of the game will advance to the championship game where they will meet Rogers State University, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday evening.
Against Judson, the Eagles used a two-out rally in the bottom of the third and took advantage of a Bluejays error to score three times in the inning to quickly take a 3-0 lead.
Tabor, which registered just one hit through the first four innings of play, finally broke through in the top of the fifth scoring four times in the inning to take its first lead of the game at 4-3. With two outs and two on in the inning, senior Colby Tessendorf delivered an RBI single, before junior Tyler Kozlowski drove in two on a RBI single, to tie the score at three apiece. With runners in scoring position the Eagles would be called for a balk, scoring junior Art Corona from third, to give Tabor a one run lead.
Both teams would add a run in the sixth and eighth innings leaving the Bluejays clinging to a one-run lead at 6-5 heading into the ninth. An RBI single by senior Adam McCormick and two Eagle errors in the inning helped Tabor score twice to extend its lead to three heading into the bottom of the ninth. Junior Matt Lambert would send the Eagles down in order in the inning to pick up the save and secure the victory for the Bluejays.
Sciacca along with senior Matt Weger each recorded two hits in the game while Kozlowski added a game-high two RBIs. Sciacca also added an RBI and a run scored, while Tessendorf and McCormick each went 1-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored.
Bluejays starting pitcher Junior Brian Kowal gave Tabor seven strong innings allowing just three earned runs on 12 hits while striking out four to earn the victory. Lambert, who earned the save, was lights out over the final two innings of play as he did not allow a hit while striking out three.
The Bluejays picked-up the win despite being outhit 12-9, and committing three errors in the game.