SPOKANE, Wash. – One big inning was the difference as the Chapman University baseball team was eliminated from the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship with a 6-2 loss to UT-Dallas. The Panthers end the season with a 35-13 record.
Both of Chapman's runs came before the first out was recorded. All six of the UT-Dallas Comets' runs came in the second inning – five with two outs.
Junior Alex Tsuruda began the game with an infield single. Sophomore Aaron Wong reached on an error and both moved up an extra base when a throw to first got away. Senior Justin Stream cashed in both runs with a single to give Chapman a 2-0 lead before the first out was recorded.
The Comets escaped with no more damage. Comets' starter Cole Hanson settled in after the two-run single, allowing just two more hits and one walk over the final eight innings. He turned in the complete game performance to push his team further into the tournament and end the Panthers' run of five straight elimination game wins.
While Hansen cruised, the Comets offense came to life for one inning. Senior Joey Harmon needed just seven pitches to retire the Comets in order in the first. A couple of singles and an error pushed across the Comets' first run. UT-Dallas then loaded the bases with two outs. A single tied to game at 2-2 and kept the bases loaded.
Ryan Burciaga brought home all three runners with a double off the left center wall and then scored when Barry Casey duplicated the fly ball off the wall in left center for a 6-2 lead.
Junior Jonathan Hernandez took over for Harmon and was lights-out for the final six-and-a-third. He immediately ended the big inning with fly ball to center. Over the final six scoreless innings, he allowed just four hits and one walk while striking out four.
However, the Panthers offense couldn't get much going against Hanson as UT-Dallas made the six-run inning stand up for the win.
Chapman's season came to a close with the loss. The Panthers won their first SCIAC Tournament title in program history and made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2011.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director