JHU puts up 5 in 5 to force Game 3

Gabe Romano was just what the Blue Jay faithful needed as he survived a mid-game bloody nose to pitch Johns Hopkins into a third and final game in the D-III Championship Series.
Photo by Doug Sasse, d3photography.com | Photos for D3CS Game 2

By Jim Dixon

Cedar Rapids, Iowa - The fifth inning turned out to be just what Johns Hopkins head coach Bob Babb forecast yesterday to force a third game in the D-III Championship Series. The Blue Jays won 7-3 to force a second game on the final day of the 2023 D-III World Series being played on PG Cares Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Players and coaches were not available for comment between Thursday's two games.

A five-run fifth for the Blue Jays turned their fortunes positive as Johns Hopkins turned a deficit into a comfortable lead. The biggest hit of the inning also traveled the furthest. Matthew Cooper hit a moon shot that the left fielder just watched it fly.

Johns Hopkins opened the scoring in the first. Cooper was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a walk to Dillion Souvignier. An error and a fielder's choice earned the Blue Jays run number one. Another walk reloaded the bases with one out but Brandon Pond got a ball back to himself for an out and a groundout to third to keep it a one run inning.

Lynchburg answered the bell with two of their own to end the first a run up on the Blue Jays. Brandon Garcia doubled and moved to third on an errant throw by the shortstop, allowing Avery Neaves to reach. A hit batter moved everyone up and Garcia scored on a pass ball with Neaves taking third. A groundout scored Neaves giving the Hornets a 2-1 lead after one inning.

The Hornets added one more in the second. Jackson Harding singled up the middle of the infield and stole second. Singles by Holden Fiedler and Garcia moved Harding from second to home with garcia credited with the RBI.

Johns Hopkins drew closer with a run in the third. Souvignier opened the frame with a double to left field and scored on Tripp Myers safety to right.

The five run fifth for the Johns Hopkins returned the lead to the Blue Jays. After Cooper's first home run of the series, and his 25th of the year, Souvignier doubled to the left-center gap. A miscue by Neaves in left put runners on the corners. Caleb Cyr walked to load the sacks. Jimmy Stevens doubled in two as his ball fell inside the right field near the fence. That was all for Pond who exited in favor of Matt Cassidy. Dillion Whitney greeted Cassidy with a single to plate two more runs.

Johns Hopkins added two more in the eighth to pad their lead. Whitney got his third hit of the day and his at-bat was followed by a walk to the pinch hitter, Charlie Monterrosa. Jake Siani pinched ran for Montarrosa as the top of the order was back. Cooper drove in two with a drive that skipped past the left fielder to the fence for a stand-up double.

Johns Hopkins added two runs in the ninth on a home run by Stevens. Cyr walked before the big fly.

Lynchburg rallied for three runs in the ninth. Garcia tripled in the first run, the rightfielder almost got there but it was just off his glove. Pinch hitter Logan Webster was on base via an error by the second baseman. Garcia scored on Jones' double who in turn scored on Neaves single. With the clean-up hitter up, Romana struckout Sean Pokorak to send the D3CS to a game three.

Game three of the D3CS will start 45 minutes after the end of the game and is tentatively slated for a 2:50 pm Central start.