Washington & Jefferson College (Pa.) edged closer to its first national title with a 12-2 victory over California Lutheran University in Monday's (May 29) opening game of the championship series at the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship in Appleton, Wis.
The best-of-three series wraps up Tuesday (May 30) at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Game two of the series begins at 11 a.m. with a third game, if necessary, to follow.
Kevin Begley went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs for Washington & Jefferson (42-11). Ryan Sciullo was 2-for-3 with a double and a triple and drove in two runs, and Nick Gatins drove in three runs for the Presidents.
Matt Heslin went the distance to pick up the victory, and he allowed two runs on nine hits. Marshall Pautsch took the loss after giving up seven runs on eight hits over 4.2 innings. He struck out two and walked one.
Playing in the finals for the first time, Washington & Jefferson scored in four of the first five innings to pull out to a 7-0 lead. The Presidents were already ahead 2-0 when Jake Gordon delivered a run-scoring double in the fourth and Begley followed with an RBI single for a 4-0 lead.
Washington & Jefferson added three more runs in the fifth with the big blow coming on Sciullo's two-run double for a 7-0 advantage.
California Lutheran (38-11) picked up two runs on three hits in the sixth, but Heslin got an inning-ending double play to avoid any further damage.
The Presidents then sealed the victory with a run in the eighth on Begley's RBI single and four more in the ninth as Begley picked up a two-run single.
Max Weinstein went 3-for-5 to pace California Lutheran, the national runner-up in 1992 and 1996.