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In the Nick Of Time, Blue Jays Come Through With SLIAC Title

In the Nick Of Time, Blue Jays Come Through With SLIAC Title


Nick Bohlmann and Nick Cessna came through in the nick of time for the Blue Jays, sparking Westminster College to a 9-5 win in a winner take all game against Greenville College; capturing the Blue Jays first conference tournament title since 1999. While Bohlmann and Cessna stood out at the plate for the Blue Jays it was pitchers Justin Riggins and Collin Brinker that kept them in the game on the mound.

Greenville started the day with a 9-6 win over Westminster to force the winner take all game against Westminster. The Panthers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in game two of the day and carried a 5-1 lead into the sixth inning. Justin Riggins came out of the pen to take the ball in the top of the fifth inning for Westminster and promptly slowed down the Panther offensive attack. Although he let up two hits in each of his first two innings of work Riggins was able to work out of both jams.

The Blue Jays, who were held to just five hits through the first five innings of the game, exploded for five hits and five runs in the bottom of the sixth to grab their first lead of the day in either game. Deion Hughes started the bottom of the sixth by reaching on an error and was followed by a single from Tyler Branneky. After a wild pitch Cessna singled in Hughes to make the score 5-2. Bohlmann then delivered the big hit of the game for the Blue Jays, driving a ball to right-center field for a three run home run, tying the game at 5-5. The Blue Jays were not done in the inning as Tanner Branneky drew a walk and would later score on a Nolan Bax single to take a 6-5 lead.

With the lead, Riggins continued his excellence out of the pen, retiring the Panthers in order in the seventh and then facing just three batters in the eighth after left-fielder Deion Hughes gunned down a Panther at second after trying to stretch the single.

Westminster was not satisfied with their lead and tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the eighth when Cessna cleared the bases with a three run double to make the score 9-5. The Blue Jays then turned the ball over to 2016 SLIAC Pitcher of the Year Collin Brinker in the ninth inning. Brinker, who would be named the tournament MVP, struck out the first batter he faced before seeing a runner reach with a double. After a fly ball to center for the second out it was 2016 SLIAC Player of the Year Deion Hughes who sealed the title for the Blue Jays by making a diving catch in shallow left field to end the game.

Riggins picked up the win for Westminster, going four innings and allowing no runs and five hits. Brinker recorded the save, tying the Westminster career saves record, while Cessna and Bohlmann each picked up two hits and combined for seven RBI in the game. Westminster improves to 28-13 overall and wins their first SLIAC Baseball Tournament title since 1999 and now await the release of the NCAA Division III National Tournament bracket Sunday night.

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