Bellevue University scored runs in each of the final five innings en route to a 10-4 victory over Park University in the title game of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball tournament Wednesday afternoon at Westgate Complex-Esping Family Field in Omaha, NE.
With the win, the Bruins (39-11), who trailed 4-3 going into the bottom of the fifth inning, earned an automatic berth into the NAIA National Tournament which will begin next Tuesday, May 12 at a to be determined site. Park falls to 34-12 overall and will await word of their post-season fate.
Junior catcher Brett Chamberlain led Bellevue at the plate, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs as Bellevue belted 14 hits in the victory. Senior right hander Kyle Wink earned the win to go to 7-1 on the season after striking out seven Pirate batters in 6 .1 innings of work.
Neither team registered a hit until the bottom of the third inning when BU’s Matty Johnson led off with a single to right field. Johnson was caught stealing to end any scoring threat.
Louie Templeton led off the fourth inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Goodro who also reached on an error by Pirate pitcher Dustin Laird. Justin Long’s single to shallow center field drove in Templeton to put the Bruins on the scoreboard. After Jerrod White was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out, Tuckett Slade’s walk added another run. Ryan Lambert’s sacrifice fly to center field made it 3-0 after four innings.
Park answered in the top of the fifth inning, pushing across four runs. Jesse Kearns registered the team’s first hit of the game, a double to left field. Brett Gordon’s single to center field drove in Kearns to cut the lead to 3-1. Ryan Duede’s single to left field loaded the bases with one out. The Pirates scored their second run off a wild pitch by Wink. Darian Sanford’s bad hop single to center field scored two runs to give Park a 4-3 advantage.
Bellevue responded in the bottom half of the fifth, tying the game after Templeton stroked a double down the left field line and then came home on Goodro’s single to center field.
Bellevue took the lead for good after pinch hitter RJ Jerrick’s RBI single to center gave the Bruins a 5-4 advantage after six innings.
The Pirates loaded the bases but failed to score in the top of the seventh.
The Bruins added to their lead in the bottom of the seventh after Chamberlain’s single to center field drove in two runs. Jake Jadlowski ‘s infield single scored Errol Bailey from third base to make it 8-4.
Chamberlain’s two-run double down the left field line ended the game’s scoring in the bottom of the eighth inning.