The Chapman baseball team secured the program's second national title and first since 2003 following a pair of wins Tuesday against Birmingham-Southern in the 2019 NCAA Division III Baseball Championship at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
With the two wins in the best-of-three series, Chapman concludes its spectacular title run 44-11 overall, while Birmingham-Southern finishes its stellar campaign, 42-15 overall. The Panthers, who finished as national runners-up in 2011, are the second Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) team to win the title in the last three years as California Lutheran won the national crown in 2017.
Game One: Chapman def. Birmingham-Southern, 6-4
After Birmingham-Southern took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, Chapman answered with two runs in the top of the second as Alex Tsuruda connected for a two-run single to center field to make it 2-1. The Panthers then extended the lead to 3-1 when Joe Jimenez lifted a home run down the left field line in the top of the third.
In the home half of the third, the Birmingham-Southern Panthers pulled a run back to make it 3-2, before Chapman struck for three runs in the top of the fifth. Henry Zeisler singled in Drew Littwin, and Trevor Marrs delivered a two-run single to center to make it 6-2.
Birmingham-Southern continued to chip away as an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth set the score at 6-3. The Panthers then made the game interesting in the bottom of the ninth as Brian Williams singled in a run with two outs to make it 6-4 with the winning run at the plate. Chapman closer Nick Garcia, who entered in the eighth, shut the door on Birmingham-Southern as he forced a pop up to second base to end the threat and give the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Tyler Peck started on the hill for Chapman and earned the win as he allowed three runs on six hits, walked three and struck out four in seven innings pitched. Garcia picked up his 12th save of the season allowing one run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
Game Two: Chapman def. Birmingham-Southern, 5-0
In game two, Chapman broke a scoreless deadlock in a pitcher's duel as the Panthers used a pair of Birmingham-Southern pitcher miscues to put two runners in scoring position for Littwin who flied out to left field to send Jarod Penniman home with the first run of the contest to make it 1-0.
The bottom of the seventh saw Brad Shimabuku deliver a pinch-hit RBI single up the middle that extended Chapman's lead to 2-0. Later in the frame, Penniman reached on a fielder's choice that sent Jimenez across the dish with the Panthers' third run to make it 3-0 before Birmingham-Southern was able to get out of the jam.
Chapman then exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the eighth as Zeisler collected a two-run double to left field that scored Tsuruda and Littwin to lift the score to 5-0. A Shimabuku triple brought in two more runs to make it 7-0, before a Penniman single and a double by Aaron Wong added a run each as the Panthers roared to a 9-0 advantage. Tsuruda and Littwin, who scored the first two runs of the frame, then got in on the RBI action as Tsuruda doubled down the left field line to drive in a run, while Littwin singled to right to extend the cushion to 11-0.
Chapman starting pitcher Mason Collins tossed a complete-game shutout to help the Panthers seal their national crown. He allowed just six hits, one walk and struck out four batters.