(SAUGET, Ill.) – The eighth-seeded Thomas More College baseball team fell, 8-6, to fifth-seeded Franklin College tonight (Friday, May 18, 2018) in an elimination game of the NCAA Division III Championship's Central Regional at GCS Credit Union Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois.
The Saints end the season at 25-20 and with the win the Grizzlies improve to 39-4 and will play another elimination game tomorrow.
Thomas More took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when junior first baseman Sean Lawrence (Independence, Ky./Simon Kenton) scored on a Grizzly error. Franklin answered with a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 1-1.
Junior catcher Sam Hauer (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) hit a two-run home run in the third inning scoring senior second baseman Ben Laumann (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) to give the Saints a 3-1 lead. Franklin cut the lead to 3-2 after three innings as it scored one run in the bottom half of the inning.
Franklin tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning when it plated a run on a Saint error. The Grizzlies took a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning on a solo home run. Franklin extended the lead to 5-3 lead with a run in the sixth inning.
Thomas More took a 6-5 lead in the seventh inning when Lawrence had a two runs batted-in double scoring first-year left fielder Brady Reynolds (Cincinnati, Ohio/White Oak) and junior centerfielder Blaise Ostertag (Burlington, Ky./Conner) and then Lawrence scored on a double by senior third baseman Tyler Smith (Independence, Ky./Simon Kenton).
Franklin had a two-run home run and a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to retake the lead at 8-6 after seven innings and held on for the win.
Lawrence led the team at the plate as he was three-for-four with a double, two RBI and two runs scored. Hauer was one-for-five with a home run, two RBI and a two runs scored and Smith was one-for-three with a double and a RBI.
Senior pitcher Brandon Eliadis (Lawrenceburg, Ky./Anderson County) had a no-decision as he pitched five innings giving up four runs (three earned) on seven hits. Junior pitcher Jonathan Breeden (Erlanger, Ky./Dixie Heights) suffered the loss as he pitched one inning giving up four runs (three earned) on two hits, while striking out two. Sophomore pitcher Justin Ward (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) pitched two innings giving up no hits and striking out three.
The Saints won their fifth PAC championship and posted their 22nd-straight winning season during the 2018 campaign.