|Davenport University (41-14)||0||0||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||5||9||1|
|Lima, Ohio St. Rita's Complex|
|Davenport University||Indv. Stats||Madonna|
|#29 Austin Petravicius||Doubles||3 Players|
|#25 Brian Sobieski||Home Runs||None|
TOLEDO, Ohio – With top-seeded University of Northwestern Ohio waiting in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Championship game, the WHAC's second automatic bid to the NAIA Opening Round was on the line as the Madonna University baseball team fell to Davenport University 5-2 at Racers Field at St. Rita's Sports Complex.
The NAIA has 31 automatic berths, one host berth and 13 at-large bids to the Avista-NAIA World Series and one of those bids went to the winner of today's game, with the Crusaders now awaiting word from the selection committee on Thursday, May 11 at 4 p.m. to see if they will continue playing in 2017.
If they are not awarded an opening round bid it was a fun season that saw a midseason coaching change and one of the greatest hitting displays in program history as Ted Falkner took over the team after the Fall semester and Taylor Grzelakowski (SR/Fraser, Mich.) swung his way to WHAC Player of the Year honors.
Cliff Landess (JR/Carleton, Mich. ), the Crusaders' closer for much of the season, drew the start and allowed four runs on six hits in 2.2 innings with one strikeout before giving way to the bullpen that pitched admirably in the loss. Layne Gusler (SR/Woodhaven, Mich.) allowed one run on three hits in 4.1 innings with two walks while Johno Rodriguez (SR/Sterling Heights, Mich.) tossed a pair of scoreless, hitless innings with three walks.
Madonna belted out nine hits in the game led by Ryan Lambrecht (SR/Lake Orion, Mich.) and Ryan Freemantle (SR/Mississauga, Ontario) who had two each. Lambrecht also drove in and scored a run with Jalen Thomas (SO/Southfield, Mich.), who went 1-for-4 with a walk, scored the second tally.
The Crusaders threatened in the first inning as Thomas led off the bottom of the first with a walk and advanced to third with two outs, but was stranded there.
In the second, Jared Hagan (JR/Dearborn Heights, Mich.) led off with a base hit and back-to-back walks by Freemantle and Stephen Parker (JR/Sterling Heights, Mich.) loaded the bases with nobody out. Davenport went to closer Jonathan Cheshire, who tossed four perfect innings against Madonna on Sunday, and he induced a double play and a strikeout to escape the jam.
The Panthers used the momentum swing and turned it into four runs in the third. Four singles, a caught stealing and a throwing error led to the first run then a two-out, three-run home run to left field made it 4-0.
The lone blemish on Gusler's line came in the fifth as he allowed a leadoff walk to come around to score on a two-out single.
In the bottom of the inning Madonna climbed back into the game with a pair of runs. Thomas doubled with two outs and scored on Lambrecht's single. Grzelakowski followed with a double to left center to make it 5-2. An error put runners on the corners, but again Madonna left runners in scoring position.
Madonna had chances again in the seventh and eighth to make a run at the Panthers but left two runners on in each frame.
In all, the Crusaders stranded 10 runners on base in the contest and struck out 10 times to just four walks.
Should the Crusaders not receive a bid to the NAIA Opening Round, they will say goodbye to seniors Lambrecht, Freemantle, Grzelakowski, Zack Schmidtke (SR/Dearborn Heights, Mich.), Rodriguez, Alex DeYonker (SR/Livonia, Mich.) and Gusler. Thanks for a fantastic four years.
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