• 2019 Record: 20-19, 8-8 UAA
  • 2019 National Ranks: NR
  • 6 World Series Berths
  • 13 UAA Championships
  • 11 ABCA All-Americans
  • 4 D3Baseball.com All-Americans

Emory Clinches Second-Straight D-III World Series Berth

Emory Clinches Second-Straight D-III World Series Berth

The Emory University baseball team is headed back to Appleton, Wisconsin for the second-straight season and the fifth time in the program's history, after winning two games on Saturday to clinch the NCAA Division III South Regional Championship in at Loudermilk Field on the campus of Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia.

Emory sophomore Jackson Weeg was named the South Regional Most Valuable Player, after making two starts and striking out 19 batters, including the second on Saturday on just two days rest, throwing eight-and-two-thirds innings against Birmingham-Southern to earn his Division III leading 11th win of the season.  Senior outfielder Brett Lake, sophomore third baseman Philip Maldari, sophomore closer Kyle Monk, and junior first baseman Ben Vizvary.

The Eagles (30-13) overcame an opening game loss in the regional on Wednesday, and bounced back to win four-straight games to claim the regional title.  On Saturday, Emory defeated 18th-ranked Pacific Lutheran 7-6, and then claimed an 8-5 victory over 10th-ranked Birmingham-Southern College 8-5 in the Championship Game.

Game 1 – Emory 7, #18 Pacific Lutheran 6
Emory University senior Wes Peacock hit a pair of go-ahead extra-base hits in the game, including a two-RBI triple in the bottom of the eighth inning, to lead the Eagles to a 7-6 come-from-behind win against Pacific Lutheran, and give the Eagles a berth into the South Regional Championship Game.

The victory for the Eagles avenged a tournament-opening 9-6 loss to the Lutes, who ended their campaign with an overall record of 32-14.  It marked the 10th team that Emory has eliminated from the NCAA Championships in the last two years, as the Eagles improved to 18-11 all-time in elimination games.

The early part of Saturday's game was a back-and-fourth affair.  Pacific Lutheran, the visitors in the game, jumped out to a quick 3-0 chasing Emory starter Paul Merolla from the game after he recorded just two outs.  Freshman Matt Randolph would enter the game and get a fly out to centerfield to limit the end the inning damage in the first.

Emory answered back immediately in the bottom of the inning, getting runners on at first and third with nobody out.  Junior David Coble would score first for the Eagles on a wild pitch, and an RBI single from sophomore Philip Maldari played junior Dylan Eisner to cut the lead to 3-2.  With two outs in the inning and runners on the corners, Peacock doubled down the leftfield line, scoring two more and giving Emory a 4-3 lead after an inning.

The Lutes regained the lead in the top of the second against Randolph, scoring on a pair of infield singles with two outs to go on top of Emory 5-4.

Both Randolph and the Pacific Lutheran starter, Chris Bishop (working on just two days rest) would settle in from that point forward, with neither team scoring again until the bottom of the fifth.  Senior Brett Lake started the rally with a one-out double, and sophomore Wilson Morgan followed with a base hit to put runners on the corners for Maldari, who drove in his second run of the game with a hit up the middle to tie the game at 5-5.  The Eagles had a chance to add on more, but a hard line drive by junior Ben Vizvary was caught by the Lutes' first baseman and turned into an inning-ending double play.

Randolph would work around leadoff baserunners for four straight innings, and was replaced by sophomore Luke Emmett with a runner on first and nobody out in the seventh.  After a balk moved the runner to second, and a sacrifice bunt pushed him to third with one out, Emmett induced a soft lineout back to the mound for the second out, but allowed a two-out hit to right field to Bo Pearson to score the go-ahead run for the Lutes.

Senior Michael Byman entered in the eighth with the Eagles still trailing by a run, and pitched a scoreless frame, setting the stage for the bats in the bottom of the frame.  With Lutes' closer AJ Konopaski on the mound, Maldari was hit by a pitch with one out in the inning, and Vizvary followed with a base hit to put two on for Peacock.  The senior followed with a shot that hit off the base of the wall in centerfield for a triple, clearing the bases and giving the Eagles a 7-6 advantage.

Byman started the ninth inning, getting an out, but hitting a batter to put the tying run on.  Just a day removed from a 5.2 inning, 66-pitch outing, sophomore Kyle Monk entered the game, getting a groundout for the second out of the inning.  After a base hit put the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on first, Landon Packard groundout out to third to end the game, giving Monk his program-record tying 10th save of the season.

Byman picked up the win, pitching an inning and a third in relief without allowing a run, and improving to 1-0 on the campaign.  Konopaski took the loss, dropping to 2-1.

Game 2 – Emory 8, Birmingham-Southern 5
Vizvary drove in four runs in the second game with a pair of two-RBI hits, and Weeg held Birmingham-Southern to just five runs on 12 hits and two walks while striking out nine batters to lift Emory to the regional championship with an 8-6 win over the Panthers.

Weeg got into trouble in the first inning, loading the bases with one out, but was able to end the frame unscored upon with a ground ball double play hit into by Sam Roberts.  In the bottom of the inning, Peacock got Emory off to a quick start with a triple to right centerfield, and scored on a one-out RBI single from Lake to take a 1-0 lead.

Emory added on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on a one-out double for Vizvary that scored Maldari and Lake to increase the lead to 3-0.  However, the Panthers answered back with a three-run top of the fifth against Weeg, including a game-tying two RBI double from Jacob Mayfield.

Emory regained the lead in fifth with a four-run frame.  Morgan started the scoring for the Eagles with a bases-loaded single, scoring a pair of runs.  With two outs in the inning, Vizvary drove in two more with a double, putting the Eagles in front 7-5 after five inning.

The inning chased Birmingham-Southern starter Blake Stevens from the game, one of the top pitchers in Division III.  Working on two days of rest, Stevens allowed seven unearned runs in the contest, after surrendering just 12 in his previous 13 starts in 2015.

Emory added on another run in the bottom of the seventh on a solo home run by Maldari, his second of the season, to extend the lead to 8-5.

Weeg pitched a scoreless eighth, and started the ninth with a hit batter, but retired the next two.  With two outs, the Panthers' Jacob Drescher had a pinch-hit single to force Weeg from the game.  Monk entered for his second appearance of the day, and after hitting a batter to load the bases, got a lineout to first to clinch the victory for Emory.

Weeg improved to 11-1 on the year with the win, while Monk earned his 11th save of the year, a new program record.  He also matched Mike Bitanga's program record with the 18th save of his career.

Emory will now play the winner of the West Regional, when the Eagles open up play at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wisconsin on Friday, May 22nd.  More information will be posted to EmoryAthletics.com as it is made available.