May 30, 2010

By Bryan Rose
Special to

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Illinois Wesleyan did not have a hit for the first three innings but the Titans got strong pitching and a late hitting burst to come away with a 4-3 win over Heidelberg in an NCAA Division III baseball championships winner's bracket game on Saturday.

Illinois Wesleyan (29-20) will face Linfield Sunday in the winner's bracket game at 8 p.m., while Heidelberg (41-7) will battle the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in an elimination game at 4:30 p.m.

Illinois Wesleyan loaded the bases in the first inning on two walks and a hit batsman, but were unable to score as Heidelberg pitcher Brian Koehl worked out of the jam.

The Student Princes responded by taking the lead in the third inning as Ricardo Lizcano collected an RBI on a ground out to the shortstop and Steve Decker hit an RBI single to right to give Heidelberg the 2-0 edge.

Illinois Wesleyan tied the game in a fifth inning that had some controversy. The Titans loaded the bases and a ground ball up the middle looked like they would score a run. But Casey McIntosh was called out for interference for sliding into the Heidelberg shortstop and the Titan runners were forced to return to second and third with two out.

A passed ball on the next pitch cut the Heidelberg lead to 2-1 and the Titans tied it as Brett Moore collected an RBI single.

Heidelberg would counter in the bottom half of the inning. Elvin Williams nabbed an RBI double to right to put the Student Princes back ahead.

In the seventh, Illinois Wesleyan knotted the game as Mike Morrissey hit an RBI single to center.

The Titans followed that by taking the lead in the eighth as Zach Scott hit an RBI triple with two outs.

Illinois Wesleyan's starting pitcher Brent Kulavic made that stand up by retiring Heidelberg in order in the ninth.

Kulavic threw a complete game to earn the win, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out six. He did not walk a batter.

Andy Lowe suffered the loss for Heidelberg, throwing 2 2/3 innings in relief and allowing one run on two hits. Koehl started for the Student Princes but received a no decision after throwing 6 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits. He struck out six.