Hutchinson, Kan. – The top seeded Tabor College Bluejays opened up national tournament play with a narrow 3-2 victory over 5th seeded Viterbo University Friday night in the opening round of the Hutchinson bracket.
On a night that saw the temperatures dropped into the low 40's it was senior first baseman Kevin Seeger's bat the kept the Bluejays offense from going cold. Seeger who had just one hit in the game tallied all three of the Bluejays RBIs to spark the Tabor offense on the night. Tabor also got a pair of hits out of seniors Grant Silva and Shaun Reid. Silva also added a run scored.
While Seeger led Tabor at the plate it was senior pitcher Junior Mustain who led the Bluejays in the field. The right-hander allowed just one run, on three hits, while striking out three, in seven innings of work. Fellow senior Alex Mann came on in relief to pitch the final two innings of play to earn the save. Man gave up just one run, on one hit, while striking out one in two innings of relief.
Senior outfielder Shea Coates was the only V-Hawk to enjoy a mutli-hit game finishing with a 2-4 night at the plate. Junior Zach Benson also added a hit and an RBI to round out the offense for Viterbo.
Ace pitcher Evan Taylor did his best to help the lowest seeded team in the tournament nearly pull the biggest upset of the day. The right hander, went eight innings allowing three runs (two earned), on nine hits, while striking out six, in an eight inning complete game performance.
Seeger opened up the game with a sacrifice fly in the first to give Tabor a quick 1-0 lead. In the third Seeger made the score 2-0 on an RBI single up the middle, before providing the Bluejays with the game winning run in the eighth on a fielder's choice that scored the runner from the third.
Twice on the night the V-Hawks pulled back within one but could never tie the score nor take the lead. Viterbo made it 2-1 in the eighth on a wild pitch from Mann that scored the runner from third, before pulling back within a run in the ninth on an RBI single from Benson. Mann however would get the final three outs of the inning to preserve that victory for the Bluejays.
Tabor (47-11) will advance to take on 3rd seeded the University of Jamestown tomorrow at 9:30 p.m. in the tournament semifinals of the winners bracket. The winner will advance to the tournament title game set to be played on Thursday.
Viterbo (32-19) who opened the tournament with an upset win over 4th seeded Mayville State University will enjoy an off day tomorrow, before resuming play on Wednesday. The V-Hawks will take on the winner of Mayville State University and Doane College game set for tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.