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STAYING ALIVE: Jimmies advance to regional final

Nick Wrigg (18) comes across home plate during University of Jamestown baseball's 3-1 victory over York College Wednesday afternoon at Jim Wade Stadium in Oklahoma City. Sean Johnson / For The Sun

University of Jamestown pitcher Eli Fultz was on a role Tuesday afternoon at Jim Wade Stadium in Oklahoma City.

The senior tossed eight innings of one-hit ball as the Jimmies moved on to the NAIA regional championship with a 3-1 victory over No. 22 Central Methodist University. Earlier in the day, Jamestown eliminated York College with a 3-1 win.

The Jimmies (44-10) will take on No. 5 in the NAIA Oklahoma City University (49-7) today at noon. Jamestown will have to beat OCU twice in order to advance to the NAIA World Series.

"Eli threw a heck of a game in the conference tournament and he used that as a springboard," Jamestown baseball coach Tom Hager said, referring to Fultz's six innings, two-run, seven-hit performance against Valley City State University.

Fultz gave up a run on zero hits in the first inning but later found his groove against the Eagles after retiring 20 of the last 21 batters he faced. Closer Eric Evans recorded his second save of the day to secure the win.

"He was in a rhythm and pitching in the zone all day," Hager said. "He limited the base runners and with a team that's fast it helped quite a bit."

The Jimmies opened the scoring on a sacrifice fly in the third inning and later doubled up their lead in the fourth with a double steal. Slugger Kaleb Binstock belted a solo home run to give Jamestown a 3-1 lead.

"We didn't have an outstanding day offensively but we did what we needed to," Hager said. "We got some guys on base today but we didn't get enough key hits to pile the runs on the scoreboard."

The Jimmies will have their work cut out for themselves today against the Stars. Earlier in the tournament, Oklahoma City defeated Jamestown 19-8. The Stars have also only played two games during the regional round, while Jamestown has played four.

"The biggest thing is to play our style of baseball offensively and on the mound. Hopefully that gives us a shot," Hager said. "We just want to enjoy the moment."

Chase Thometz, who started against OCU on Monday, only went three innings so he could be a possible starter today. Shane Groth also went seven innings three days ago for the Jimmies. Overall Jamestown has used 10 pitchers during the first four regional games.

"We've preached all year long that if you have a deep staff you can go a long ways," Hager said. "We'll find out how deep we are."

The Stars and Jimmies will get underway at noon today. If Jamestown wins the first contest, another game to decide the regional winner would be played next.

"The goal from the beginning of the year has been to play for a chance of going to the World Series," Hager said. "But make no mistake about it we're not satisfied."

UJ 3, YC 1

Coming out of a day off because of inclement weather, the Jimmies got out to a early 3-0 lead with a run in the second, third and fourth inning.

Dakota Nelson pitched 5 1/3 while giving up a run on seven scattered hits. Nick Torres struck out five in 2 2/3 of relief work and Evans closed the game out.

"They had big time days on the mound for us," Hager said.

University of Jamestown 3, York College 1

UJ 011 100 000 -- 3 9 1

YC 000 001 000 -- 1 8 1

W--Dakota Nelson. L--Billy Damon. S--Eric Evans.

UJ highlights: Dakota Nelson 5-1 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 5 K; Nick Torres 2.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 5 K; Tanner Roundy 3-4, RBI; Kory Wolden 1-4; Kaleb Binstock 1-4, RBI; Quinn Irey 1-3; Scooter Turin 1-4, RBI; Pete Pennylegion 1-3, R; Taichi Sasaki 1-2, R.

Records: Jamestown 43-10. York 27-27.

University of Jamestown 3, Central Methodist College 1

CMC 100 000 000 -- 1 1 1

UJ 001 110 00X -- 3 6 0

W--Eli Fultz. L--Dariel Checo. S--Eric Evans.

UJ highlights: Eli Fultz 8 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 3 BB, 2 K; Drake Pilat 1-1, Jaden Yackley 1-3; Kaleb Binstock 1-2, 2 RBI, R, BB; Quinn Irey 1-4; Pete Pennylegion 1-4; Tanner Roundy 1-4.

Records: Jamestown 44-10. Central Methodist 41-16.

Mitchell Johnson

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA; College: Central Washington University

(360) 918-1853
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