Jimmies beat No. 2 Bellevue again
In its last 45 games, NAIA No. 2-ranked Bellevue has lost just three games.
All three defeats have come against the University of Jamestown, but Monday's was the biggest and most grueling.
With their season on the line in back-to-back innings, the Jimmies erased Bellevue leads in the bottom of the ninth and 10th innings to defeat the 49-9 Bruins 7-6 in the North Star Athletic Association tournament in Valley City on Monday night. It was the Jimmies' second straight win over Bellevue in as many days.
Nico Kelly's infield single scored Scooter Turin with two outs in the bottom of the 10th to lift the Jimmies (40-18) into today's championship game at noon at Charlie Brown Field. Jamestown faces either Mayville State or Valley City State. The Comets led 6-0 in the second inning at press time. The game started at 9:15 p.m.
"It was an unbelievable college baseball game. Both teams played their butts off," said UJ head coach Tom Hager. "This team over the last few weeks has been on a roll and they've shown tremendous resilience with their backs against the wall. Now we have one more to go."
A win today would clinch a spot in the NAIA national tournament. With consecutive wins over the No. 2 team in the NAIA (Bellevue), the Jimmies have significantly enhanced their resume for an at-large bid, although the prospects remain uncertain. Winning today would eliminate all doubt.
"Make no mistake about it, my team knows we need to win one more game to win a conference championship," Hager said. "I'm so proud of our guys for putting us in this position, now we just have to finish it off."
Monday's game featured a 5 1/2-hour hour rain delay. The tilt started at 11 a.m., and was halted just after 1 p.m. Relief pitcher Eric Evans turned in an epic performance. The junior from Weyburn, Saskatchewan relieved Lance Kotter in the fourth inning before the rain delay, and then was back on the bump when the game restarted at 6:30 p.m. In all, Evans logged five innings, allowing just one run on four hits with five strikeouts against the Bruins, who scored 17 runs against the Jimmies in Jamestown on Saturday.
"For Evans to do what he did was an incredible performance, it really was," Hager said. "And then (Marshal) Burgess and (Chase) Thometz came in and minimized the damage. Sometimes those things get overlooked, but they came in and did what we needed them to do."
Senior All-American Landon Uetz delivered a clutch solo homer in the bottom of the ninth with one out to tie it at 9-all. After the Bruins went ahead in the top of the 10th, the Jimmies got singles from Quinn Irey and Scooter Turnin sandwiched around a sacrifice bunt by Pete Pennylegion. An errant pickoff throw aided the rally before Kelly delivered the game-winner.
Christian Shouman had three of the Jimmies' 13 hits. Uetz, Pennylegion and Turin added two each.
University of Jamestown 7, Bellevue 6, 10 innings
BU 011 200 001 1 -- 6 13 2
UJ 110 011 001 2 -- 7 13 3
Zach Wilson, Reid Feeley (6), David Mendez (7), Max Dwyer (8), Caleb Garcia (10) and Jake Browne. Lance Kotter, Eric Evans (4), Nick Torres (9), Marshall Burgess (9), Chase Thometz (10) and Quinn Irey. W--Thometz. L--Dwyer. HR--UJ, Landon Uetz.
Highlights: BU, Browne 4-5; Todd Nicks 3-6. UJ, Matt Noll 1-2 RBI; Uetz 2-4 2 R, HR, RBI; Tyler Ludlow 1-4 RBI; Quinn Irey 1-5 R; Pete Pennylegion 2-3 R, RBI; Scooter Turin 2-4 2 R; Christian Shouman 3-4 RBI; Eric Evans 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO.