Hutchinson, Kansas – Winning the Midwest Collegiate Conference title two weeks ago put Viterbo University baseball team into new territory and the territory just keeps getting bigger. Viterbo University defeated the University of Jamestown 11-4 to keep their season alive and put them in the Championship Series of the NAIA Baseball Opening Round.
Things did not start out that well for the V-Hawks though as they fell behind 4-0 in the fourth inning. The Jimmies of Jamestown put four runs on the board in the fourth inning on four hits and an error. The Jimmies were able to knock out V-Hawk starting pitcher Josh Thiede (SR/Montreal, Wis.) in the fourth inning. Head Coach Chad Miller would call on senior Matt Watkins (SR/San Carlos, Calif.) to finish the inning.
Viterbo entered the sixth inning trailing 4-0 and only having three hits. That quickly changed as the V-Hawks exploded for 11 runs on 7 hits and 3 errors. Senior Pierce Belaustegui (SR/Henderson, Nev.) provided the first punch with a 2 run double and was followed by Shea Coates (SR/Boise, Idaho) with a two run single. Luigi Dolenti (SR/Viroqua, Wis.) then drove in Coates with a single and after the V-Hawks loaded the bases again, Steve Pascual (JR/Lynwood, Calif.) drove in two runs to put the V-Hawks up 8-4. Viterbo would once again load the bases and Francisco Torres (SR/Cathedral City, Calif.) cleared the bases with double to cap the scoring for the V-Hawks. Viterbo forced Jamestown to use five pitchers in the inning.
That would be all the run support the V-Hawks would need as Watkins closed the door on Jamestown by never giving them much of a scoring chance. Watkins (2-0) picked up the win on the mound by pitching the final 4 1/3 innings and giving up just four hits and walking two.
The V-Hawk offense finished with 13 hits including hitters 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 each having two hits apiece. Torres finished the game 2-3 with 4 RBI's and a run scored while Belaustegui and Coates were 2-4 with 2 RBI's and a run scored. Also having two hits was Taylor Reinhardt (JR/Medford, Wis.) as he was 2-4 with two runs scored.
The win moves the V-Hawks to 34-19 on the year and puts them just two wins away from the NAIA College World Series. Viterbo will now face #1 seed Tabor College at 9:30 am on Thursday morning. The V-Hawks must win to stay alive and force a final game with Tabor which would start at roughly 12:30 pm. Tabor defeated Viterbo on Monday night 3-2 to give the V-Hawks their lone loss of the tournament.