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The Master's season comes to a close

Mustangs fall a run short to Taylor

Posted: May 13, 2009 9:58 p.m.
Updated: May 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
The Master’s College’s baseball team’s season ended Wednesday with a 5-4 loss to Taylor University of Indiana on the second day of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round Field 3 Tournament in Mt. Berry, GA.

The Mustangs defeated Malone of Ohio 6-4 earlier in the day.

But TMC was eliminated by the same team that defeated it in the first game of the tournament.

Taylor beat The Master’s College Tuesday 4-3.

The Mustangs finished the season 37-22.

The 37 wins tied for the most in school history.

The 1999 and 2000 Mustangs had previously won 37 each.

TMC prolonged its stay in the tournament earlier in the day when Joe Zeller clubbed a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth and then finished off a gutsy, complete-game performance on the mound to lift The Master’s College to a 6-4 victory.

After Zeller retired the Pioneers in order in the top of the first, the Mustangs went to work in the bottom of the frame.  

Michael Bando led off with a double to left-center field, moved to third on a Pete Goeman sacrifice, and scored on Zeller’s infield single. Zeller continued on to second base on an error and pinch-runner Tim Woodward scored moments later when Eric Blackwell doubled him home.

The Mustangs went up 3-0 an inning later when Bryan Lucas stroked a leadoff single to center field, advanced to third on consecutive sacrifices by Dustin Jones and Ben Ives, and came home on Bando’s clutch, two-out single to right-center field.

Zeller blanked the Pioneers through the first two frames but in the third a leadoff single, two groundouts, and a two-out double produced Malone’s first run, making it a 3-1 game.

After rapping out five hits in their first two at-bats, the Mustangs went virtually silent over the next three frames, collecting just one hit as Malone starter Sam Campitella retired nine of 10 batters he faced during that span.

That opened up a door of opportunity for the Pioneers and they knocked it down in the sixth, putting a three-spot on the board to forge ahead 4-3.  

Even though they had two hits in the inning, the Pioneers scored their runs on a hit batsman with the bases loaded, a fielder’s choice, and a suicide squeeze bunt.

Suddenly, the memories of Tuesday’s loss were all too real in the dissolution of another three-run advantage.  

But, this time it would be different as the Mustangs came on late while shutting down the Pioneers.

Following Malone’s three-run outburst, the Mustangs answered back in the bottom of the sixth.  Blackwell led off with a single through the left side, stole second and then Jared Otto blooped one down the right field line, putting runners at the corners.  Blackwell didn’t spend much time at third base, either, because Caleb Mintz plated him with the tying run on a sacrifice fly to right field.

Almost as quickly as he got off the mound in top of the inning, Zeller was at the plate in the bottom of the frame.  And, he didn’t stay there long as he picked on a Bryan Bayer pitch and belted it over the left-field fence, putting the Mustangs ahead 5-4 with his eighth homer of the season.

Blackwell later drew a walk, advanced to second on Otto’s single through the right side, and raced home when Mintz’ grounder to short was booted by Scott McIlvain, handing the Mustangs a 6-4 lead. 

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