May 26, 2009

Courtesy TommieSports.com

Senior Dan Leslie's one-out walk-off single in the 12th inning gave St. Thomas a 3-2 victory over Wooster (Ohio) to cap a Tuesday sweep that let the Tommies take the 2009 Division III College World Series baseball championship.

Coach Dennis Denning's Tommies (41-13) won six NCAA playoff elimination games at regionals and nationals to win the program's second national championship. They beat two different All-American pitchers from Wooster on Tuesday to close out a remarkable season of twists and turns.

Tommie junior Matt Olson -- who was named the CWS's Most Outstanding Player -- worked a 3-2 count and singled to leadoff the 12th, his third hit of the game and 11th hit in six Appleton games. It was the eighth time on the game the Toms had the leadoff batter on base. Olson was bunted to second by Brian Schmitz and Leslie also worked a 3-2 count before he stroked a game-winning single through the hole in left field.

Junior Brandon Stone, in his first pitching appearance in 16 days and first in 12 NCAA playoff games, retired 20 of the 23 batters he faced in seven shutout innings in relief to get the win for St. Thomas. Stone struck out four and had no walks.

Louie Salmen, Ben Wartman and Tim Kahle each had two hits for the Tommies, who outhit Wooster 12-8 and capped a 10-2 NCAA playoff run that included a 17-inning win and a 12-inning championship win. The Toms hit into five double plays and left 12 on base but still outlasted the hard-luck Scots (43-11).

UST, which finished 16-4 in May, is now 16-6 in four College World Series appearances. The baseball title is the institution's 13th national team championship.

St. Thomas pitchers had a 2.12 ERA over 12 NCAA playoff games covering 119 innings.

The Toms scored one in the third inning for a 1-0 lead on a walk, a Wartman single, a bunt and Kahle's infield single.

Wooster countered with Stu Beath's leadoff single and Matt Groezinger's two-run home run in the top of the fourth inning for as 2-1 lead. It was the first time UST trailed in six elimination games.

In the Tommie sixth, Olson singled, Schmitz walked, a bunt moved the runners up and Larson hit a sac fly to tie the game.

The Toms loaded the bases in the ninth with two outs but couldn't score and also had runners at first and second with none out in the 11th and didn't score. But Stone kept Wooster in check to keep the chances coming.

Freshman Bryce Gapinski (3-0 in postseason, 4-0 in May) started for UST and worked five innings. Stone relieved to start the sixth.

All-American Mark Miller has pitched all 11 1-3 innings for the Scots in a gutsy performance.

Leslie, Stone, Matt McQuillan and Matt Schuld joined Olson on the CWS All-Tournament team.