St. Norbert Holds On to Win MWC Baseball Championship

From Sports Information Director, May 10, 2014 | Baseball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

RIPON - St. Norbert College escaped a ninth-inning jam to win its second Midwest Conference baseball title in three years with a 4-3 triumph over Grinnell College at Ripon College's Francis Field.

The Green Knights (23-14) swept through the tournament 3-0 to win their fifth overall MWC baseball championship. St. Norbert became the first school since St. Olaf College in 1971-72 to win MWC titles in football, men's basketball and baseball in the same school year.

St. Norbert took a 4-1 lead into the top of the ninth but held off a last-ditch Grinnell (21-17) rally. Ryan Penaflor led off the inning with a single. St. Norbert starter Brett Nohr induced a fly out by Anthony Mack, but then walked Matt Schaefer and yielded a single to Matt Godinsky to load the bases.

Jacob Beecher followed with a two-run double to cut the deficit to 4-3. St. Norbert coach Tom Winske called for freshman righthander Jake McMahon, who then hit Eli Freese to again load the bases. McMahon then settled in to get Walker Bell to fly out to shallow right field and Kainoa Inafuku to pop to short to end the game.

St. Norbert scored the game's first run in the bottom of the third when Chad Ljunggren's RBI single up the middle plated Cameron Jerina, who opened the inning with a bunt single. Grinnell answered with a run in the top of the fourth, and St. Norbert took a 2-1 lead when Derek Klegin scored on a throwing error in the bottom of the fifth.

The Green Knights scored two much-needed insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. Nick Pierre squeezed in Travis Mason, and Adam Enwiya drove in Jose Goninez with a two-out single to right-center.

St. Norbert had seven hits, with Klegin and Mason recording doubles. Nohr improved to 6-3 on the season by allowing seven hits in 8 1/3 innings, while walking one and striking out four. McMahon secured his first save of the season.

St. Norbert will open regional play in the NCAA Division III Tournament on Wednesday. Pairings will be announced by the NCAA on Monday morning.