SAN MARCOS, Calif. - No. 6 seed Dakota State faced No. 4 seed Thomas (Ga.) in an elimination game Friday morning at the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Baseball Postseason Tournament at CSUSM Baseball Field. The Trojans held on to defeat the Night Hawks 8-6 to remain alive in the postseason tournament.
Dakota State lifted their overall record to 27-25 after the victory. Thomas ended their season with an overall record of 25-23.
Joey Kampfer and Chris Cravotta each recorded an RBI single to give Thomas a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning.
DSU answered back with four runs in the bottom third frame to overtake the lead from the Night Hawks. Ryan Bourcier hit an RBI single to score Rays Roman for Trojans' first run of the game. With bases loaded and one out situation for DSU, Anyelo Roman scored by a passed ball by Jesse Piccolo to tie the game at 2-2. Ryan Steffensen added a 2-RBI single as DSU gained a 4-2 lead.
The Trojans added two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend their lead. Chaz Palmer opened with a single. Kyle Holland recorded a sacrifice bunt to advance Palmer to second base. Rays Roman hit an RBI single to score Palmer. Bouricer added an RBI double to score Anyelo Roman to give the Trojans a 5-2 lead.
Alex Williams hit an RBI single in the top of the seventh inning as Thomas trimmed their deficit to 6-3.
With two outs in the bottom seventh frame for DSU, Jason Hershfield hit a double to center. Steffensen recorded an RBI single to score Hershfield to extend Trojans' lead to 7-3 (Steffensen advanced to third base during the play caused by Thomas' defensive error). Kyle Braun added an RBI single to score Steffensen to give DSU an 8-3 lead.
The Night Hawks produced three runs in the top of the eighth inning to cut DSU's lead to 8-6.
The Trojans sealed the victory as Thomas went three-and-out in the final inning.
Steffensen was 2-for-3 at the plate and produced three RBIs for DSU. Bourcier added a double, a single and two RBIs. Hershfield had a double. Rays Romans had two singles and an RBI. Palmer recorded two singles. Anyelo Roman and Braun each had a hit.
Austin Corbitt recorded a double, a single and two RBIs for the Night Hawks. Kampfer, Mike Lane and Ryan Lummus each had two hits.
Thomas left nine runners on base. DSU had eight runners left on base.
Brandon Womack (6-2) picked up the win for the Trojans. He pitched seven plus innings and allowed five runs (one unearned) on 10 hits. He recorded four strikeouts. Seth Doxey worked in the eighth inning and gave up an unearned run on two hits. Anyelo Roman recorded his first save of the season as he tossed two shutout innings. He gave up a hit.
Neal Hunter (1-3) suffered the loss for Thomas. He pitched 3 2/3 innings and gave up six runs (one unearned) on six hits. Hunter allowed six walks. Nick Sutton worked 3 1/3 innings in relief and gave up two runs (one unearned) on four hits. Kurtis Mancauskas tossed a one-hitter in the eighth inning.
Dakota State moves on in the A.I.I. Baseball Postseason Tournament tonight at 6 p.m. (Central Time)/4 p.m. (Pacific Time). The Trojans will play No. 5 seed Arizona Christian (undefeated in the tournament) for a spot in the A.I.I. Baseball Championship game.
The championship game is scheduled for Saturday (tomorrow).
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director