WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. —
Concord University lost a two-run lead in the ninth inning and was eliminated from the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region baseball playoffs by the Winston-Salem State Rams, 7-5 on Friday afternoon at Gene Hooks Field.
The Rams’ Rafael Gonzalez smacked a three-run double in the top of the ninth off Chris Baker, who had taken the mound for Concord in the fifth inning in relief of starter Kevin Mack.
The Mountain Lions ended the season 36-20, the most wins in a single season in the history of the baseball program. The second-seeded Rams, survivors of the elimination-bracket game in their home town, will play No. 4 Shippensburg (Pa.) today.
Three times in Friday’s game, Concord fought back to tie the contest. Then, in the seventh, Concord’s Jerrod Groves tripled and freshman Joe Camp drove him in for a 5-4 lead — the Mountain Lions’ first of the day.
Joey Miller hit his 15th home run of the year in the second inning, a solo shot over left field that tied the game 1-1. In the next inning, senior Jacob Mays followed with his sixth homer of the year to tie the game at 2-2.
Winston-Salem State (39-12) added runs by Gonzalez and Brandon Harrison in the fourth and fifth to forge a 4-2 advantage and end the day for Concord starter Kevin Mack.
Mays led off the Concord sixth with a base on balls, his 27th of the season. Ryan Johnston unleashed CU’s third home run of the afternoon to even the score at 4-4.
Winston-Salem sophomore reliver J.R. Wright struck out Brandon Costa looking for the final out in the bottom of the ninth. In three innings of work, Wright (2-1) struck out four of the eight batters he faced and did not allow a Concordian on base.
Miller finished with two of Concord’s eight hits. The Rams’ German Reyes was 2 for 3 with an RBI sacrifice fly, and scored twice.
Mack threw 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs, three of them earned, on seven hits. Baker allowed three runs on four hits to end the year with an 8-2 record.
Jordan Carlton pitched the first six innings for Winston-Salem State, allowing all eight Concord hits and five earned runs.
At Gene Hooks Field
Winston-Salem State....101 110 003 — 7 11 1
Concord........................011 002 100 — 5 8 2
Carlton, Wright (7) and Andrus. Mack, Baker (5) and Brockway. WP - Wright (2-1). LP - Baker (8-2). HR - CU, Miller, 2nd, 0 on; Mays, 3rd, 0 on; Johnston, 6th, 1 on.