Tiger Baseball Powers Past Whitworth in NCAA Playoff Game
McMinnville, Oregon - Trinity's Tanner Barron and Jules Cronk led the baseball team to an 8-3 NCAA Playoff win over Whitworth University on Thursday night.
The Tigers are now 36-10 on the season, and are 2-0 at the McMinnville Regional Tournament at Linfield College. Trinity is the last unbeaten team remaining in the tournament.
Barron (4-1) tied Trinity's NCAA Playoff record with 12 strikeouts in the game, allowing three runs on eight hits through eight innings. Ben Klimesh set the record just yesterday, pitching Trinity to a 2-0 shutout win over Coe College, striking out 12 batters. Michael Bentz finished off the final game, sparked by a double play that squashed a Whitworth rally.
The Pirates opened the game with a run in the first inning, but Trinity quickly bounced back with a two-run second, led by Cronk's RBI double. Just one inning later, the Tigers loaded the bases in front of Cronk, and he responded with a two-out grand slam to put the team up 6-1 at the time.
Whitworth added a run in the fourth, then loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Barron recorded a key strikeout, then Pat Hirschberg made an outstanding diving catch in left-center field, stealing a hit that would have scored at least two runs. Hirschberg then delivered a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the inning to push the lead back to six runs.
Cronk was 2-3 with two runs and five RBI, tying a Tiger playoff record for RBI in one game. Christian Muscarello picked up two hits and three runs, while Hirschberg was 1-2 with one run and two RBI. Nick Pappas was 1-2 with two walks.
Trinity will face either Whitworth or Concordia (TX) tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. (Pacific). The Tigers will also play at least once on Saturday, regardless of Friday's results.
(Photos courtesy of Linfield student Joel Ray, and Whitworth SID Steve Flegel.)