D-III Update: Trinity Closes In

BA’s Austin Maloney updates the Division III College World Series, with Trinity (Conn.) chasing history:

Chasing an unprecedented undefeated season, Trinity (Conn.) College had rolled through conference and non-conference competition in the regular season, leading some to believe it had played a less than challenging schedule. Any questions about Trinity’s ability to beat upper-echelon opponents have been answered this weekend at the Division III College World Series in Appleton, Wis..

Trinity’s 44th straight victory Sunday night propelled the Bantams to the championship game. They knocked off Johns Hopkins 8-5 to advance and send the Blue Jays to the losers’ bracket. Trinity has used their strong pitching along with some opportunistic offense to move on. Sophomore James Wood led the Bantam attack with three RBIs, including a home run to deep center field in the third inning of Sunday’s victory.

Trinity won games on Friday and Saturday to advance to Sunday’s matchup against Hopkins. The Bantams held off a late Linfield (Ore.) rally to win 6-5 over Scott Brosius’ Wildcats. Trinity led 6-2 going into the eighth, but its lead was cut to one when third baseman Rhett Fenton hit a three-run shot to trim the Bantam lead to one.

In Friday night’s opening game, the Bantams outlasted the last team to beat them, Cortland (N.Y.) State, 2-1. Trinity ace Tim Kiely delivered nine innings, allowing only one run while striking out 10. The Bantams were tied with the Red Dragons heading into the bottom of the ninth, until a passed ball allowed sophomore Matt Sullivan to score the winning run.

Monday, three teams battle for the chance to meet undefeated Trinity in tomorrow’s championship game. Wisconsin-Whitewater will face off against Adrian (Mich.) in the first game. The winner will move on to face Johns Hopkins later in the day.

Adrian, a heavy underdog coming into the World Series, is one game away from the finals after dropping its opening game in 13 innings to Johns Hopkins. In Saturday’s elimination game, Adrian trailed 5-0 against defending champion Kean (N.J.) before rallying. A line drive up the middle off the bat of shortstop Todd Myers sent Adrian to a 7-6 victory. 

On Sunday, Adrian had to come from behind again to knock Linfield from the tournament. Starter Nick Sarkissian went nine innings for the Bulldogs, scattering 12 hits, including three in the ninth before escaping a bases-loaded jam to clinch the victory.

The homestate Warhawks of Wisconsin-Whitewater have gone unscathed since an opening-round loss to Linfield. Whitewater has rolled since the defeat, beating Cortland State 10-2 on Saturday before eliminating Chapman (Calif.) with a 7-4 victory on Sunday. Whitewater first baseman Jeff Donovan paced the Warhawks to Sunday’s victory with a three-run home run in the fourth inning that put Whitewater ahead for good.

The winner of the Whitewater-Adrian matchup will face Johns Hopkins for the right to take on Trinity ace Tim Kiely. Kiely has been the nation’s most impressive pitcher this spring, walking just two batters while striking out 97.