Johns Hopkins knocks Whitewater out of NCCA Series

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Chris Etheridge/Special to the Gazette
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
— In a game with 38 hits, the biggest was a bunt that didn’t roll foul.

UW-Whitewater (42-10) fell to Johns Hopkins University, 12-11, in the Warhawks’ second game on Monday and was eliminated from the NCAA Division III baseball World Series at Fox Cities Stadium.

Trinity, Conn. (44-0) will put its NCAA Division III-record 44-game winning streak on the line at 11 a.m. today against Hopkins (41-7) for the championship. If the Blue Jays snap “The Streak,” a second game will be played 30 minutes later to determine the national champion.

The Warhawks, 13-11 winners over Adrian (Mich.) in their first game Monday, finished third in the nation by winning three straight games after losing to Linfield (Ore.) in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament.

“We knew that if there was any team that could come out of the losers’ bracket and do it all, it was us,” Whitewater third baseman Kevin Zalnis said. “We have amazing depth.”

Hopkins beat the Warhawks on a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth, but only after Whitewater came back to tie it five times. Still, after the back-and-forth battle, it came down to the bottom of the ninth.

“That was one of the times where being the home team was really an advantage,” said Hopkins coach Bob Babb. “We knew we just had to play for one run, and if we did that we didn’t have to worry about their bats.”

With runners on first and second and the score tied at 11-11, Hopkins’ Dan Merzel bunted up the third-base line on a 1-2 count. The ball rolled along the gravel, and catcher Billy Johnson elected to let it roll foul. But just as the ball hit the chalk, it stopped and was ruled fair.

“(We) were sure it was going foul,” said Adam Donovan, who was pitching for Whitewater at the time. “It was going straight there and wasn’t close to stopping until it hit the chalk.”

With the bases loaded and no outs, Nate Adelman grounded to Zalnis in the next at-bat to force Jon Solomon at home. Jonas Fester then drove a grounder up the middle to score the winning run.

One bright spot for the Warhawks on Monday was a two-homer day from Zalnis. That broke the school’s single-season home run record set by Pat Tobiasz in 1998 and tied by Brady Endl in 2005. Zalnis finished the season with 19 home runs.

“At the time, it felt great. I had just bobbled a play at third base, and I was able to come back and help my team,” Zalnis said. “But I knew it was going to be a fight all day, so I savored it for about a couple of minutes with the guys in the dugout, then went back out and played defense.”

After posting 13 runs on 16 hits in the first game against Adrian, Whitewater came back with another 17 hits in the second game.

“Usually this is the game where there are a lot of hits because everyone is down on pitching, and the hitters are more familiar,” Babb said. “Plus the wind was friendly the last couple of days, as opposed to the first couple.”

Hopkins, which led the nation in offense this year, posted 21 hits against a weary Whitewater pitching staff. Every Blue Jay batter had at least one hit.

For Whitewater, Mike Jacobson pitched on three days of rest, and Dominick came in to finish the second game on two days of rest. The Warhawks used seven pitchers in the two games, including Jacobson in both.

Whitewater used a combination of offensive tools to stay in contention against Hopkins. The Warhawks scored with the long ball in the second and fourth, but then strung together a series of hits in the fifth to knock in two more.

With the score 6-4 and two comebacks already behind them, the Warhawks took advantage of poor fielding from Hopkins to again tie the score.

With one out, Ben Kuhlman singled to left field. Jeff Donovan struck out, but then Thomas Corcoran moved Kuhlman to second and reached when the Hopkins shortstop could not decide whether to throw to second or first. And then a tough grounder to third by Zalnis and another to shortstop from Ben Prather drove Kuhlman and Corcoran home.

But Hopkins came back with three in the sixth to regain the lead at 9-6.

Then, a bases-loaded triple to the right-field corner by Whitewater’s Joe Munn tied the game again in the seventh. After going hitless in four at-bats in the first game, Munn finished 3-for-5 with five RBIs and a home run in the second game.

Hopkins posted two more in the bottom of that inning for an 11-9 lead, but Donovan and Prather knocked in runs in the eighth to even it again.

The core of Whitewater’s lineup came up big in both games. Zalnis and Prather both finished with six hits. Zalnis also have five runs and five RBIs on the day.

After going 0-for-12 leading off in the first three games of the tournament, Kuhlman turned it around on Monday. He finished 5-for-11 with five runs and an RBI in the two final games.

n Whitewater 13, Adrian 10—Whitewater eliminated Adrian in a close finish after leading 10-2.

The Warhawks gave up seven runs in the sixth inning, but they put up another three runs in the seventh to hold off the Bulldogs.

For the second straight game, reliever Jason Hooper bailed out the Warhawks. The Lake Mills native stopped the bleeding in the sixth by forcing Jake Cappelletty to pop to third base to end the inning.

Mike Jacobson picked up the save with 1 1/3 innings in relief. He allowed one run on two hits. Starter Greg Donovan pitched five innings for the win.

Jeff Donovan led the offense with four RBIs and two runs, including a three-run homer to right in the seventh. Greg Harder also had two runs, three hits and three RBIs. With the wind blowing hard to right field, Joe Munn came to the rescue again with two run-saving catches.

(First Game)


Adrian (ab-r-h-rbi)—Meyers ss, 5-2-2-1; Na. Sarkissian cf, 5-0-1-0; Alex Cowart lf, 6-1-1-0; Rickstad dh, 4-2-4-4; Vanderheyden 2b,6-1-1-1; Bilius 3b, 4-2-1-2; Cappelletty 1b, 5-1-2-2; Younce c, 4-1-2-0; Anderson rf, 2-1-1-0; D'Orazio ph, 1-0-0-0. Totals: 42-11-15-10.

Whitewater (ab-r-h-rbi)—Kuhlmann 2b, 5-3-3-1; J. Donovan 1b, 4-2-3-4; Corcoran dh, 4-1-1-0; Schliewe ph, 1-0-0-0; Zalnis 3b, 5-2-2-3; Prather lf, 5-1-2-0; Stine cf, 5-1-2-2; Munn rf, 4-1-0-0; B. Johnson c, 2-0-0-0; Harder ss, 4-2-3-3. Totals: 39-13-16-13.

Adrian 200 007 011-11

UW-Whitewater 023 230 30x—13

E—Meyers, Bilius, Kuhlmann 2. LOB—Adrian 12, Whitewater 6. HR—Rickstad, J. Donovan, Zalnis. HBP-Meyers, Na. Sarkissian, Bilius,

Younce, B. Johnson.



Lancaster (L, 2-3) 2 5 5 5 2 3

Domschott 2 3 2 2 1 2

Webster 4 8 6 6 0 1


Donovan (W, 2-0) 5 7 6 3 3 1

Olson 2-3 4 3 3 0 0

Hooper 2 2 1 1 1 1

Jacobson (S, 2) 1 1-3 2 1 1 0 1

(Second Game)


UW-Whitewater (ab-r-h-rbi)—Kuhlmann, 2b, 6-2-2-0; Donovan, 1b, 4-1-1-1; Schliewe, dh, 2-0-0-0; Corcoran, ph-dh, 2-2-1-0; Zalnis, 3b, 5-3-4-2; Prather, lf, 5-2-4-3; Stine, cf, 5-0-1-0; Munn, rf, 5-1-3-5; Johnson, c, 4-0-0-0; Harder, ss, 5-0-1-0. Totals: 43-11-17-11.

Johns Hopkins (ab-r-h-rbi)—Fester, ss, 6-3-5-3; Youchak, rf, 5-2-2-1; Pietroforte, cf, 4-0-1-2; Emr, 3b, 5-0-3-1; Margve, c, 5-0-1-1; Solomon, lf, 5-1-4-0; Huisman, dh, 2-3-1-0; Benchener, 1b , 2-2-1-1; Merzel, ph, 1-0-1-0; Adelman, 2b, 5-1-2-1. Totals: 40-12-21-10.

UW-Whitewater 010 320 320—11

Johns Hopkins 102 303 201—12

E—Johns Hopkins 1. LOB—Whitewater 8, Johns Hopkins 6. 2B—Kuhlmann, Fester, Pietroforte, Solomon. 3B—Zalnis, Munn, Benchener. HR—Zalnis, Munn. SB—Prather, Emr. SH—Corcoran, Benchener.



Reik 3 8 5 5 1 0

Johnson 2 2/3 6 4 4 1 1

Jacobson 2 1/3 5 3 3 1 0

Dominick (L, 8-4) 1/3 2 0 0 0 0

Johns Hopkins

Kuhlman 4 6 4 4 1 1

Zaccaria 3 2/3 11 7 6 0 4

Eyre 1 1/3 0 0 0 0 3

Last updated: 9:05 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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