KENT, Ohio - The run just continues. Tiffin baseball will be playing for a chance to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals after defeating five-seed Bellarmine 8-5 on Friday to win their eighth-straight game and sixth-straight postseason contest.
The Dragons tallied eight runs on 13 hits and took advantage of four Knight errors to continue their improbable run in 2019. After starting the season 2-17, TU has gone 24-12 since March 19 and sits at 26-29 on the year.
Tiffin now awaits the winner of Ashland and Northwood in the regional final tomorrow at noon, holding the advantage of needing just one win to advance to super regionals in their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Due to being the only undefeated team left in the regional, if the Dragons drop the noon contest, they would have another chance to clinch immediately after.
In 10 games in the month of May, TU is now batting .356 and slugging .529, recording 9.5 runs per game, 13.4 hits per game, 25 doubles, five triples, and 10 home runs. On the pitching side, they are allowing just five runs per game and have been victorious in nine of those ten.
The Dragons got on the scoreboard in the first inning for the third-straight game, as John Heckman brought home Cody Orr with a double to left. Heckman now has a hit in all 10 games in May, and has reached base in 16 contests in a row.
The Knights responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead, but Tiffin grabbed it right back in the third on a Kyle Vance two-RBI double that plated Nich Green and Jack Dennis. Bellarmine looked as if they were going to answer again in the bottom of the frame, but Dragon starter Tyler Wehrle got out of a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout looking to preserve the lead.
TU added a couple more runs in the fourth, as Kole Klasic led off with a double, Orr drove him in with a triple, and Callihan followed with an RBI single to put the Dragons up 5-2. Callihan came up with a runner in scoring position again in the next frame, and did the job by lifting a sacrifice fly to center to score Vance and increase the lead to four.
Bellarmine got a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth, but Wehrle was again able to escape a bases-loaded situation with another strikeout looking to limit the damage. The freshman set the Knights down in order in the sixth, but walked the leadoff batter in the seventh and was replaced by Peyton Clift. Bellarmine would rally, notching two hits and a sacrifice fly to cut the Dragon lead to two, still with the bases loaded and just one out.
Michael Ross was called out of the pen, and was able to get out of the inning with just one more run crossing the plate on a fielder's choice. Tiffin added insurance runs in both the eight and ninth frames to take an 8-5 lead, starting with Heckman's second RBI double of the game in the eighth. The senior now has 22 doubles on the season, bringing him into a tie for second-place in the TU single-season record book. Nick Whetnall tallied the run in the ninth, scoring on a wild pitch after pinch-running for Green.
After retiring the side in the eighth, Ross came back out to try to close the game and earn the eight-out save. The sophomore wasted no time, getting a groundout and then striking the next two Knights out to send Tiffin to the regional final.
Wehrle earned his seventh win of the season, and Vance had three hits and two RBI to lead the Dragons offensively. Orr, Heckman, and Klasic all had two hits, with Orr also scoring three times. Orr now has a 10-game hit streak, with multiple hits in eight of 10, and is hitting .500 (22-44) in the month of May with 18 runs scored and 12 RBI.