LEWISTON, Idaho – (Box Score) A little more than 24 hours after being held to a season-low three hits, the University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) offense came alive to the tune of 17 hits as the club eliminated No. 3 St. Thomas (Fla.), 13-9, Saturday evening at the 2018 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.
The win is the first-ever for UNOH at the World Series and pushes the Racers overall record to 43-19. The 13 runs by UNOH is the most in a single game at this year’s event. The Racers will play the loser of No. 8 Antelope Valley (Calif.) and No. 1 Faulkner (Ala.) Monday at 11:30 a.m. PDT.
"Getting down early to a team like St. Thomas is not a good position to be in," said UNOH head coach Kory Hartman. "We kept battling back, though, and we had great execution in situational hitting. We knew that if we won this game, we would have a day off tomorrow, so we went into this game with an attitude of going all out with our pitchers. We used a lot of arms, but we kept the pitch counts low, so a lot of them should be available later in the tournament."
UNOH began the chip away at an 8-5 deficit when an Erich Gonzalez infield single scored Caden Pratt to make it 8-6 in the top of the seventh.
The Racers comeback truly came to life in the top of the eight, as the club scored seven runs on three hits and two errors. Misael Lebron’s RBI double to deep left field sparked the rally, but the biggest play of the inning was a three-run triple by Jose Paulino. The three-bagger, which made the score 12-8 in favor of UNOH, was his fourth triple of the season. The senior shortstop scored on a sacrifice bunt to round out the scoring in the frame.
St. Thomas added another run in the ninth but pulled no closer.
Six different Racers had multi-hit performances, led by Paulino and Erich Gonzalez. The duo both went 3-for-4 at the plate. Paulino also had three runs scored and four RBI.
UNOH pitcher Mitch Ebben improved to 7-0 on the season after tossing three innings of one-hit, one-run relief. In total, six different pitchers were used in the game.
St. Thomas drew first blood in the contest via an RBI double by Nelson Mompierre which gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. St. Thomas threatened with runners on second and third with only one out, however, UNOH starter Olivier Mailloux struck out the next two hitters to end the threat.
The Bobcats tacked on three more runs on four hits in the bottom of the second inning, pushing their advantage to 4-0. The rally was capped by a wild pitch that scored Chris Allende.
UNOH, which cut into the deficit with a run in the top of the third, flipped the script on the game with a four-run fourth to take a 5-4 lead. Felix Correa had the big hit in the inning, as the senior launched a two-run home run.
However, the lead was short lived by the Racers as miscues opened the door for St. Thomas to regain the lead, 6-5. A leadoff double by Randy Oliva, followed by a walk and passed ball put runners on second and third with no outs. The Bobcats scored the first of two runs on a ground ball from Erick Delgado, while the second run was plated via a throwing error.
With the infield in and runners on second and third, Mompierre shot a two-RBI single through the hole on the right side to give the Bobcats an 8-5 lead.
The Bobcats had nine different players get at least one hit in the game.
St. Thomas ends its year with a 56-9 overall record and falls to 8-11 all-time in the World Series. The Bobcats are the second-straight team seeded No. 3 or better to go 0-2 in the tournament.