Ninth Inning Rally Keeps Westminster in SLIAC Tournament
FULTON -- The Westminster Blue Jays faced elimination from the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Tournament Thursday night after falling to the Spalding Golden Eagles, 1-6, in their first game of the tournament. The loss brought them to the elimination game with the Fontbonne Griffins. The Griffins faced Webster University in the first game of the tournament.
The Blue Jays headed into the bottom of the ninth of game two down 3-4. The Griffins quickly grabbed two outs, but walked the Blue Jays' third batter, Andy Pichler. Stepping up to the plate was Newcomer of the Year and a First Team All-Conference winner, Tyler Branneky. With two outs and two strikes, Branneky cracked a triple to right field, tying the game at 4-4 as Pichler crossed the plate. The Griffins intentionally walked sophomore Justin Whitaker and Jacob Holtgraewe came to the plate with two runners on. Holtgraewe reached first on an error and Branneky was able to make it home. The Blue Jays took the 5-4 win and advance to the next round in the SLIAC Tournament.
Jake Rule was credited with the win, coming in for relief in the ninth. The Blue Jays had five hits during game two, two coming from Branneky.
Sophomore Cam Backes scored the lone run for the Blue Jays in game one versus Spalding. Holtgraewe went 2-for-4 from the plate, and senior Kevin Moritz was credited with the game one loss.
The Blue Jays will play the loser of game four, either Spalding or Webster, Friday at 8:00 p.m. If they win, they will advance to the Championship Game on Sunday; if they lose they will be eliminated from the tournament.