Panthers advance to final day with a run in the ninth
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Chapman University freshman OF Adam Velez had struggled all weekend long at bat in Appleton. The rookie was just 1-for-18 at the NCAA Division III baseball championships when he came to the plate with the go-ahead run at second base and two outs in the top of the ninth at Fox Cities Stadium on Monday.
Those struggles became a distant memory when Velez delivered the game-winning base hit to center that plated freshman IF Troy Newman with the winning run to keep the Panthers alive with a 3-2 win over Buena Vista University (Iowa) heading into the final day of the tournament. The loss eliminated the Beavers from the tournament, leaving just three teams.
Chapman (36-12) will face the winner of Keystone College (Pa.) and Marietta College (Ohio) on Tuesday at 11 a.m. (CDT). The Panthers will have to win two games on Tuesday to claim their first national championship since 2003 and third in school history.
Sophomore RHP Travis McGee gave the Panthers a huge lift on the mound, tossing the team's second complete game in as many days and the first of his career. McGee scattered nine hits while fanning nine and allowed just one earned run to pick up his sixth win of the year. Leading by a run in the bottom of the ninth, McGee (6-3) retired the side in order and picked up his ninth strikeout to seal the win. In fact, he retired the final seven Buena Vista (34-17) batters he faced.
Velez's RBI in the ninth gave the Panthers their first lead of the game after trailing 1-0 and 2-1. Chapman scored single runs in the fourth and seventh innings thanks to RBIs from sophomore OF James Parr and freshman IF Mark Saatzer.
Two big plays at the plate turned the tide in favor of Buena Vista briefly in the sixth inning. In the top of the inning with the score tied 1-1, Parr drove a one-out double to right field and when senior C Adam Kordich tried to score from first base on the play, he was nipped at the plate by a perfect relay from the Beavers.
In the bottom of the inning, it was the Beavers who were able to score a runner from first base on a double down the right field line. Buena Vista's Ryan Scheetz scored just ahead of the Chapman relay giving the Beavers a 2-1 advantage. That lead was short-lived, however, as the Panthers tied it back up in the seventh.
Saatzer led all players, going 3-for-5 with a run scored. Parr had a pair of hits and stole a base for Chapman, which totaled its tournament-high with 10 base hits.
by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director
NCAA Tournament Page: http://www.ncaa.com/sports/baseball/d3