Baseball Team Headed to 3rd World Series
The Webster University baseball team is headed to its third World Series appearance in the last four years.
ST. LOUIS (MAY 19, 2015) - The #24 ranked Webster University baseball team won the
NCAA III Waterloo Regional with a 5-1 win over Carthage College (WI) on May 17 in
Waterloo, IA. The Gorloks advance to their third NCAA III Championship 'World Series'
in four years. Starter C. J. Lee got the win on the mound and Dylan Rajkovich provided
the offense with a three-run homer.
Webster swept the regional, going 4-0, and will now travel to Appleton, WI, on May 22 for the 'World Series.' The Gorloks will be one of eight teams vying for the championship in the double elimination format. Webster previously advanced to the 'World Series' in 2012 and 2013. Webster will face the #1 ranked Cortland State (NY) in first round action.
Lee (SO, Aurora, IL/Waubonsie Valley HS) provided the fourth straight quality start for the Gorloks in the regional, going seven and a third innings of shutout ball. He allowed six hits, two walks, and struck out three. Lee is now 5-1 on the season. Dylan Dean Smith (SR, Albion, IL/Edwards County HS), pitching in his fourth straight game, bailed Lee out of an eighth inning jam and finished up for the Gorloks.
Smith was rewarded for his efforts by being named the Regional MVP and as a pitcher to the All-Regional Team. He wound up with two wins and a save in four appearances. Joining Smith on the All-Regional Team at catcher was Adam Naliwajko (SO, Mt. Prospect, IL/St. Viator HS).
With a strong wind blowing in on a blustery afternoon it didn't seem likely for a home run to come into play in the contest. But that didn't stop Rajkovich (JR, Orland Park, IL/Carl Sandburg HS) from slamming a first pitch home run over the left field wall to give Webster a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning. It was Rajkovich's fourth home run of the season.
Alec Bahnick (SO, Owensboro, KY/Owensboro Catholic HS) had led off the fourth with a single and Blake Thomas (JR, Troy, IL/Triad HS) followed with a walk. After Kyle Uhrich (SO, St. Louis, MO/Webster Groves HS) popped out to right, Rajkovich jumped on the first pitch he saw for a 3-0 Gorlok lead. Webster would tack two more runs on in the inning.
Connor Hogan (SO, New Lenox, IL/Lincoln Way West HS) was hit by a pitch and Naliwajko reached on a fielder's choice, with Hogan out at second. Matt Wollnik (SO, Naperville, IL/Neuqua Valley HS) singled to left and Charlie Gandolfi (SR, Mundelein, IL/Mundelein HS) singled to left. A Mike Golich (FR, Aurora, IL/West Aurora HS) walk sent Naliwajko home. Bahnick had an infield single to score Wollnik and Webster led, 5-0.
Carthage had its chances but could only plate its lone run in the ninth. In the fourth, the Red Men had two singles to put runners at first and third with two down, but Lee retired the third out on a pop up to mound.
In the Carthage seventh, two more singles put runners at the corners with two out, but Lee got the final out on a called strike three. In the Red Men eighth, after a hit by pitch and walk by Lee with one out, Smith relieved. Pitching in his fourth straight game in the regional, Smith got a pop up to short and a ground out to third end the threat.
The Red Men had one more rally in the ninth. A double and infield single off Smith put runners at corners with none out. After a called third strike for the first out, a bloop single down the left field line scored one. Smith retired the final two on a pop up to short center and a foul pop up to third. The run scored broke a string of nine straight appearances by Smith without allowing a run.
It was just the fourth earned run allowed in 40 2/3 innings over 21 appearances for Smith, who has a 0.88 earned run average on the season. Smith went an inning and a third, allowed three hits, a run, and struck out one.
Rajkovich was 1-3 on the afternoon, with a home run, three RBIs, walk, and run scored. Bahnick was 2-4 with a run scored and Uhrich was 2-4 with a triple.
The Gorloks are 34-13 on the season and will face #1 ranked Cortland State (40-4), who swept through the New York Regional to gain its berth, in the first round at Appleton. That game will be on May 22 at 1:15 p.m.
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