LYNN WINS DII BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP!
Scoring the go-ahead run in the third inning, the Lynn Fighting Knights held on for a 2-1 win over Emporia State on Saturday to claim the program's first baseball national championship. Lynn's DII title marks the fourth time in five years that an SSC school has claimed the baseball national championship. A recap of all championship games appears below.
Advancing to the event as champions of the South Region, Lynn is one of four teams in the eight-team field making its NCAA championship debut. For a complete schedule, webcasts, and live stats, visit Mount Olive College's host site.
SUNDAY, MAY 24:
Lynn picked up right where it left off a week ago, plating a slew of runs to take a 7-3 win over West Chester in its first ever DII Baseball Championship game. With the win, the Fighting Knights advance to take on Dowling, which posted a 3-1 win over UC San Diego on Sunday.
Daniel Flores got things started for the Knights, driving in the first run of the game with a triple. Flores would score the second run on a wild pitch. West Chester answered with a run of its own in the bottom half of the stanza, making it a 2-1 ball game.
Lynn tallied two more runs in the third compliments of a two-run blast by Gabe MacDougall. Two more runs came in the fourth, with Kyle Holloway driving in a run with a double down the left field line. Holloway would come around to score on a Chad Crowe single, putting the Knights up 6-1.
Crowe would also factor in another insurance run in the eighth, leading off with a double to get into scoring position. He moved to third on a Douglas Toro single, and then scored from third when Einar Atencio grounded into a double play.
West Chester put up a bit of a rally in the bottom half of the ninth, collecting hits in its first three at-bats and scoring two runs to cut the deficit to 7-3. Nevertheless, that was as close as they'd get in the Fighting Knight victory.
Lynn will face Dowling at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in a winner's bracket showdown.
TUESDAY, MAY 26:
Lynn's second game in the DII Baseball Championship proved to be a bit tighter than the first, but the outcome was the same, with the Fighting Knights picking up their sixth straight win. LU downed Dowling 6-5 to move to within one win of the championship game at the tournament. The Knights' opponent will be Belmont Abbey, which posted a 9-2 win over Mesa State on Wednesday.
The Knights jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the contest. In the bottom of the first, Daniel Flores tripled to drive in Einar Atencio for the first run of the evening. Flores would later score compliments of a Gabe MacDougall single.
Two more runs came in the second. Kyle Holloway reached base on a throwing error and ultimately scored in the same fashion. Chad Crowe tacked on the fourth run, also unearned, on a sacrifice fly by Atencio.
Dowling scored one run in the third and fourth innings to cut its deficit to 4-2, but Lynn responded with another run when Douglas Toro drove in Holloway with a sacrifice fly to extend the Knight lead to 5-2.
The sixth inning proved to a big one for Dowling, as the Lions knotted the score at 5-5 with a trio of runs on their own. Lynn answered with a go-ahead run in the eigth. Holloway reached on a single, then advanced to second on a bunt by Jason Ten Eyck. Crowe then laced a single to left field to score Holloway and give the Knights a 6-5 advantage.
The cushion held up, as the Golden Lions were unable to plate a run in their final at-bat in the top of the ninth.
Lynn's next game will be Thursday at 7 p.m. against Belmont Abbey.
THURSDAY, MAY 28:
In a game that finally started at 11:15 p.m., the Lynn Fighting Knights showed no ill effects from watching the rain fall for four hours, posting a 7-5 win over Belmont Abbey to advance to the title game at the NCAA DII Baseball Championship. The contest was originally scheduled to start at 7 p.m., alas the forecast in Cary, N.C., was not cooperative, and the game didn't conclude until 2:06 a.m. Friday.
Belmont Abbey came out on fire, plating two quick runs in the top half of the first inning. Not to be outdone, the Knights got off to a hot start of their own, scoring three runs to take a 3-2 lead. Douglas Toro led off with a double, and then scored, along with Daniel Flores, on a two-RBI double by Gabe MacDougall. Advancing to third on a ground out by Chris Chavez, MacDougall would score himself on a wild pitch.
The Crusaders would answer right back in the second, plating two more runs to retake the lead 4-3. It wouldn't hold for long, as the Knights scored two more runs in the third. Once again, MacDougall delivered a big hit, scoring Toro with another double. Einar Atencio would plate the other run compliments of a sacrifice fly by Chavez, putting LU in front 5-4.
Belmont Abbey knotted the score at 5-5 with a run in the fifth, but Lynn would tally what proved to be the final two runs of the game in the 7-5 victory. Atencio got on base with a double in the Knights' second at-bat of the fifth, then came around on a two-run homer by Flores.
After the offense-heavy start, it was a pitchers' duel the rest of the way, with both teams combining to allow just one hit for the final four innings.
The Knights advance to face Emporia State in a title game that will feature a pair of teams that have never played in a DII championship game. Emporia State advanced with a 5-3 win over UC San Diego, which came on a walk-off two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. The first pitch is set for noon in Cary. The game will be televised live on CBS College Sports.
SATURDAY, MAY 30:
For the first time in school history, the Lynn University Fighting Knights are the NCAA Division II Baseball National Champions. The Knights downed Emporia State 2-1 in a championship showdown Saturday afternoon in Cary, N.C.
Emporia State delivered the first blow of the day, scoring what would prove to be its only run of the game in the first inning. Lynn tied things at 1-1 in its next at-bat in the top of the second inning. Paddy Matera led off with a double down the left field line. Kyle Holloway moved him over to third with a single. Two batters later, Chad Crowe drove in Matera with a sacrifice fly to left.
Lynn would score again in the third inning, plating what proved to be the game-winning run. Daniel Flores reached on a single, then stole second. Chris Chavez laced a single down the right field line, scoring Flores for the game winner.
Dan Wright earned the win, allowing one run on six hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Tournament Most Outstanding Player Tommy Kahnle picked up the save, retiring all six batters he faced. Kahnle was joined on the all-tournament team by Crowe, Gabe MacDougall, Flores, and Wright.
The Knights conclude their season with a 46-16 record. The squad reeled off eight straight postseason wins en route to its national crown.