May 23, 2009

CARY, N.C. - Jacob White went 3-for-3 with his first collegiate home run and Colby Killian allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings as nationally third-ranked Emporia State defeated No. 4 Grand Valley State 3-0 in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Division II Baseball National Finals Saturday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. Relievers Dominic King and Diego Soto each pitched a scoreless inning as the Hornet pitchers combined on a four-hitter.

Emporia State plays Monday at 5 p.m. against Mesa State, a 7-2 winner over Belmont Abbey Saturday. Grand Valley State takes on Belmont Abbey Monday at 1 p.m. in the first elimination game of the championship.

Killian (8-0) and Grand Valley State starter Andre Benjamin (9-2) both took shutouts into the fifth inning, Killian allowing one hit and Benjamin limiting the Hornets to two hits, both in the third inning.

Emporia State (47-13) broke the deadlock with two outs in the top of the fifth when White's line drive just cleared the left field fence to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead.

White turned in what may have been the defensive play of the day in the second inning after a leadoff walk gave Grand Valley State (45-15-1) a runner on first. White dove for a ground ball up the middle and underhanded the ball to short for a 4-6-3 double play.

Grand Valley State threatened in the bottom of the fifth as Cody Grace drew a one-out walk and Steve Anderson was hit by a pitch. A groundout advanced both runners into scoring position, but Killian ended the rally with his lone strikeout of the game.

Double plays ended Grand Valley State rallies in the sixth and seventh innings. A leadoff walk to Josh Hillyard and a one-out infield single by Cory Maguire gave the Lakers runners on first and second in the sixth. But Killian got out of the jam on another 4-6-3 double play. A 5-4-3 double play ended the bottom of the seventh.

Emporia State added an insurance run in the top of the seventh as Mike Sharp's single and a walk to Anthony Dreiling put runners on first and second. White sacrificed the runners over and Sharp scored on Andy Cotton's sacrifice fly to extend the Hornets' lead to 2-0. Dreiling added an rbi-single in the top of the ninth.

King allowed a two-out double by Hillyard in a scoreless eighth and Soto overcame a two-out walk with a roller back to the mound for the final out and his 11th save of the season.

The win was Emporia State's first in school history in the National Finals. Grand Valley State suffered its first shutout since its 2008 season finale.