The Chapman and Redlands baseball teams opened action at the 2018 NCAA Division III Championship at the Whitworth Regional in Spokane, Wash. on Thursday.
Chapman fell to Willamette, 10-5 in the 11 a.m. game on Thursday, while Redlands was edged by Texas-Dallas, 3-1 (10 inn.) in the 3:20 p.m. contest. The Panthers (34-12) and Bulldogs (33-12) will meet in the loser's bracket in Friday's first elimination game at 11 a.m.
GAME 1: Willamette 10, Chapman 5
In Chapman's first game of the NCAA Tournament, the Panthers fell behind early in the contest as Willamette scored four runs in the top of the second, and added runs in the top of the third and fourth to stake a 6-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Chapman plated two runs when Justin Stream ripped a two-run single to right field to make it 6-2 as Alex Tsuruda and Trevor Marrs scored on the hit.
The Panthers scored another in the bottom of the sixth inning as Tsuruda reached on an RBI fielder's choice sending Jarod Penniman home to make the score 6-3.
Chapman then pulled to within two as Conner Larkin cracked an RBI base hit to left field allowing Jared Love to come in with the Panthers' fourth tally of the contest to make it 6-4.
Willamette produced a rally of its own as the Bearcats scored once in the eighth and three in the ninth to extend its cushion back to six runs (10-4). In the bottom of the ninth, Penniman delivered an RBI single to left to drive in Love and half Chapman's deficit, but that's as close as the Panthers could get as Willamette held on for a 10-5 win.
Gavin Blodgett led the Panthers with four hits, while Penniman finished with three. Aaron Wong, Larkin and Marrs collected two hits each in the losing effort.
GAME 2: Texas-Dallas 3, Redlands 1 (10 inn.)
In game two, Redlands scored in the bottom of the first inning when Ranier Aguilar drove in Will Hall with a groundout to the left side of the infield giving the Bulldogs an early 1-0 lead.
Redlands' starter Felix Minjarez was terrific on the hill, pitching eight scoreless innings with five strikeouts before Texas-Dallas knotted the game when Rodney Corbin singled in Ryan Burciaga to set the score at 1-1.
Comets' starter Jamie Andriot was also solid on the mound, allowing just one run on nine hits with two strikeouts in eight innings of work.
Redlands had a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth when Jordan Babbitt doubled to right field, but was stranded there as Garrett Hale forced a pair of pop ups and a groundout to end the frame.
In the top of the 10th, Texas-Dallas took the lead on a single to right by Matt Mikusek that scored Luke Richter, before Thomas Craig came home on a bunt single by Josh Covey to make it 3-1.
In the bottom of the 10th, Hall and Brendan Moore each registered a hit, but neither could get further than second base as Hale fanned the next batter to seal the win for the Comets.
Aguilar led Redlands with three hits, while Hall added two hits in the loss.