CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The Chapman University baseball team beat Birmingham-Southern College 6-4 in the first game of the best-of-three National Championship series. Senior Tyler Peck started in his final career game, striking out four batters while allowing three runs in seven innings pitched.
Birmingham-Southern got on the board early on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning. Chapman had Birmingham Southern right where they wanted them and stayed true to their season-long comeback efforts.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the second, senior Alex Tsuruda single to center field to score two runs and put Chapman up 2-1. Chapman extended their lead in the top of the third when junior Joe Jimenez hit a solo shot over the left field wall for his second home run of the season.
Birmingham-Southern added a run in the bottom of the third to cut Chapman's lead to 3-2, but Chapman put up a three-spot in the top of the fifth to score their final three runs. After a leadoff double from freshman Drew Littwin, sophomore Henry Zeisler singled to center field to drive Littwin home. One out later with runners on second and third, sophomore Trevor Marrs hit a two-RBI single to center field for just his fourth hit of the season.
Birmingham-Southern started to creep back, putting runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore Nick Garcia came in to relieve for the senior starter and retired the next three batters to get Chapman out of the eighth. Garcia allowed four base runners and a run in the bottom of the ninth but closed out the game with a pop up to second base.
Jimenez went a perfect 3-for-3 with a solo home run and three runs scored. Garcia kept the lead for the Panthers, earning his 12th save of the season.
Chapman faces off against Birmingham-Southern in game two of the best-of-three series at approximately 3 p.m. CT.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant