The University of St. Thomas took the win, 5-1, in the opening game of the MIAC baseball tournament championship day, but the Hamline University baseball team rebounded to win 7-5 in the second game to win the tourney title and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
The tournament win is the first conference championship for the Piper baseball program. The team now has an overall record of 28-13. The Tommies are 27-16 after the split today.
With the win, the Pipers head into the NCAA regionals this week, May 18-22, which will be held at UW-Whitewater. The NCAA will make their final tournament selections this evening and will announce the field and brackets on Monday morning.Game 1 box score
UST 5 10 0
HU 1 6 1
In the opening game of the championship series, the Pipers were the home team on the scoreboard. The Tommies scored a pair of runs in the top of the first on a double to right center.
Hamline responded in the bottom of the frame with a run on a Ben Richardson RBI single. That would be the only run that the Pipers would put on the board in that game.
After a scoreless second, St. Thomas had a run in each of the next three innings for the 5-1 win.
Starter Brett Bugielski took the loss in the game for the Pipers, throwing three and one-thirds innings, striking out two. Dylan Olson threw the remainder of the game, striking out three and giving up one run.Game 2 box score
| Photo album
HU 7 10 0
UST 5 15 3
In the second game, the Pipers once again had to battle back from behind, and did so with late-game dramatics.
The Tommies, this time taking the home team's spot on the scoreboard, opened with a run in the first inning.
The Pipers answered back immediately, as Cory Miller drove in a run with a single to right field. Dan Ellefson gave the Pipers their first lead of the day when he scored on a wild pitch with Andy Powell at the plate.
St. Thomas didn't let the Hamline lead last long, scoring a pair in the bottom of the inning, and they would hold that lead until the fourth when Powell reached on a fielder's choice that sent Miller home.
The tie lasted until the bottom of the inning when St. Thomas took back the one-run lead with a sacrifice fly.
The Pipers tied up the score again in the top of the fifth as Andy King blasted a lead-off home run over the center field fence.
That tie stood up until the bottom of the seventh when a pair of singles allowed the Tommies to go up 5-4.
In the next half inning, however, Hamline tallied a trio of runs to take a lead that they would protect through the final two Tommie at-bats of the game for the championship.
Miller led off the eighth with a single and was joined on base by the #9 hitter, Ryan Hackel, who drew a walk. Powell loaded the bases as he bunted safely.
That's when things got wild for both teams, as Tony Rogers came to the plate. He took a first pitch strike, and then took a second strike on a swing at a wild pitch - but in the process, a pair of Piper runs crossed the plate. Miller scored to tie it on the wild pitch before the St. Thomas catcher threw the ball away attempting to prevent the go-ahead run. That error allowed Ryan Hackel to score from second place on the play.
That play also moved Powell to third, and he gave Hamline the insurance run on another Richardson RBI single.
Rob Miller and Rannon Arch combined to hold the Tommies scoreless in the next two innings to protect the Piper lead.
Rob Miller earned the win on the mound, moving to 4-0 on the season. Arch earned the save, his second of the season.
Cory Miller led the Pipers at the plate, going 3-for-4 while scoring two runs and driving in one.