The Jimmies won the game that mattered Friday in Crete, Nebraska.
Mount Marty University had the University of Jamestown's number all spring on the baseball diamond, winning four consecutive games against the Jims dating back to April 17. But in a win-or-go-home pairing of the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament, the Lancers are heading home to Yankton, South Dakota.
The Jimmies cruised over the Lancers 9-5 and have advanced to Saturday's Doane Bracket championship where they'll meet up with the host team Tigers at 10 a.m. Jamestown needs to beat Doane twice in order to advance out of the double-elimination bracket and into Tuesday's championship game, which would be played at either Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska, or Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa if the lower-seeded Jimmies were to advance.
Concordia and Briar Cliff square off tomorrow in Seward to decide the Concordia Bracket.
After sweeping three games from the Jimmies last month at Jack Brown Stadium, and beating them again 4-2 in Thursday's GPAC tournament opener, UJ had the last laugh. The Lancers finished the year at 29-19
"Today we just pitched it better, we defended better and we hit better," Jamestown baseball coach Tom Hagar said. "When you can take all areas of the game to another level, then you feel like you got a shot."
A solo home run off the bat of Brian Rice leading off the bottom half of the first set the tone for the Jimmies, who'd break the contest open with a combined seven runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
Dylan Dudley, Brice Foster, and Matt Meraz all drove in runs in the sixth as Jamestown took back a 2-1 Mount Marty lead, and a four-run seventh was highlighted by second baseman Brice Foster's two-run triple. Foster also took the mound to record the final out of the ninth inning with a runner on and two already in for the Lancers, who didn't go away quietly.
Foster got Mount Marty's Zane Salley to hit into a fielder's choice to end the game.
"Mount Marty's an awfully good baseball team, but today we played some great baseball and were able to come out on the right end," Hager said. "One through nine we were able to put quality at-bats together and I was really happy with our bullpen. We had a lot of guys contribute in game 2, and that's what it takes if you're going to win two games in a day."
Jamestown's Payson Mills started on the hill and allowed one run through 3 2/3 innings, before Cameron Jenkins, Noah Soltero, Cameron Multer, and Aaron Pugh logged pitches. Multer (1 1/3 IP, 0 BB, 2 SO) earned the win. Foster and senior shortstop Gran Okawa both finished 2-for-4 at the plate. Okawa smoked two doubles into the outfield grass.
Jamestown earned its second date with Mount Marty in the tournament by blowing past Northwestern College 10-1 earlier in the day Friday.
UJ starting pitcher Kensaku Akika arguably turned in his best performance of the year, scattering five hits through seven innings and recording five strikeouts. A Kip Cullinan solo home run with one out in the sixth accounted for the Raiders' only run of the game.
"Ken did a great job today," Hager said. "He went deep into the game, which is exactly what we needed to be able to get through the day, and I'm really proud of him. He was outstanding."
UJ jumped on Northwestern with three runs in the first, beginning with a Tayler Cullen bases-loaded, two-out walk, and ending with a Michael Asahara two-run single. Cullen lit the fuse offensively, clubbing an RBI double in the fifth and a solo homer in the sixth.
"Any time that we're able to get somebody to get things started -- to become the firestarter -- everybody else feeds off that and I felt like that's what happened today," Hagar said of Cullen.
Cullen's run-scoring double was part of a four-run fifth that included a Tanner Shepard RBI single. Lincoln Trujillo delivered a solo home run in the ninth.
UJ senior reliever Austin Pesicka tossed two scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth to end it in favor of the Jimmies.
"We got the bats going, and when you can get them going in game 1 and they carry over to game 2, you feel like you have a chance," Hager said. "We really battled throughout the course of the day defensively, and we were able to piecemeal some things together and get some big swings.
"A heckuva day for Jimmie baseball."
The Jimmies face a solid test Saturday against the 33-win Tigers. Doane swept four games from the Jimmies last weekend in Jamestown.
"We know they're an outstanding team and we're gonna have to play some really good baseball to take care of business," Hager said. "But I like my team right now, and I like the direction they're headed."
University of Jamestown 10, Northwestern College 1
J 300 041 101 -- 10 11 1
N 000 001 000 -- 1 7 4
Batteries: J, Kensaku Akiya, Austin Pesicka (8) and Dirk Eymundson and Connor Mormon (8). N, Brett Shelton, Ben Zeutenhor (5), Ryan Reynolds (6), Nate Rice (7), Edison Goodlow (9), E. Bucker (9) and Michael Zeigler. W-Akiya. L-Shelton.
Highlights: J, Akiya 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO, 97 TP; Pesikca 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 24 TP; Brian Rice 1-4, R; Matt Meraz 1-1; Tanner Shepard 1-1, RBI; Luke Shekeryk 2-4, 2 R; Lincoln Trujillo 1-1, RBI, HR, R; Brice Foster 1-3, BB, 2B, 2 R; Tayler Cullen 2-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, R, BB; Michael Asahara 1-4, 2 RBI; Chase Hacker 1-3, 2B, BB, R.
N, Shelton 4 1/3 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO, 74 TP; Kip Cullinan 1-4, HR, RBI, R.
Records: Jamestown 29-22. Northwestern 19-27.
University of Jamestown 9, Mount Marty University 5
M 000 220 202 -- 5 9 2
J 100 003 41X -- 9 9 4
Batteries: M, Clayton Chipchase, Nick Lossi (6), Jared Bell (7) and Billy Hancock. Payson Mills, Cameron Jenkins (4), Noah Soltero (5); Cameron Multer (5), Aaron Pugh (7), Brice Foster (9) and Dirk Eymundson. W-Multer. L-Chipchase.
Highlights: Chipchase 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 12 SO; Lossi 1 IP, 1 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB; Bell 1 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO; Mason Townsend 2-4, 3B, RBI, BB, R; Caid Koletzky 2-5, RBI; R; Billy Hancock 1-3, RBI, 2 BB.
J, Mills 3 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO; Jenkins 2/3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER; Soltero 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R; Multer 1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO; Pugh 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 SO; Foster 1/3 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2-4, 3B, 3 RBI; 2 R; Brian Rice 1-3, HR, RBI; Grant Okawa 2-4, 2 2B, 2 R; Luke Shekeryk 1-4, RBI, R, BB; Lincoln Trujillo 1-4, RBI, 2 R; Dylan Dudley 1-1, RBI.
Records: Jamestown 30-22. Mount Marty 29-19.
GREAT PLAINS ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
2021 GPAC Baseball Tournament
G1: (5) Briar Cliff 12, (4) Morningside 1
G2: (1) Concordia 12, (8) Hastings 6
G3: Concordia 9, Briar Cliff 1
G4: Morningside 2, Hastings 0
G5: Briar Cliff 5, Morningside 3
G6: Concordia (36-9) vs. Briar Cliff (34-19), noon.
G7: If necessary (G6 winner/loser), 3 p.m.
G1: (3) Mount Marty 4 vs. (6) Jamestown 2
G2: (2) Doane 7, (7) Northwestern 6
G3: Doane 6, Mount Marty 5 (10 in.)
G4: Jamestown 10, Northwestern 1
G5: Jamestown 9, Mount Marty 5
G6: Doane (33-16-1) vs. Jamestown (30-22), noon.
G7: If necessary (G6 winner/loser), 3 p.m.
GPAC Baseball Championship Game
At highest seed, 9 innings
G8: Concordia Bracket Winner vs. Doane Bracket Winner, 3 p.m. (No lights); 6 p.m. (lights).
Note: There is no 10-run rule in the postseason.