McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Dan Scheibe threw a six-hit shutout to lead third-seeded Whitworth to a 5-0 win over fourth-seeded La Verne in an opening round game of the McMinnville Regional of the NCAA Division III baseball tournament on Wednesday night at Roy Helser Field.
Scheibe retired 13 straight batters from the fifth to the ninth inning and struck out nine batters while improving to 6-2.
Whitworth (27-13-1) advances to play Trinity (Texas) in a winners' bracket game on Thursday night at 7:00 pm. The second-seeded Tigers improved to 35-10 with a 2-0 win over Coe earlier on Wednesday.
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Scheibe worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the fourth inning with the game still scoreless. After allowing two singles and hitting a batter, Scheibe got Mason Stoltenberg and Zach Canfield to hit into pop-ups.
After allowing a leadoff single in the fifth, Scheibe retired 13 Leopard batters in a row until Jason Morales singled with one out in the ninth. But Scheibe struck out the next two batters to end the game.
Whitworth got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the fifth, finally getting to La Verne starting pitcher Phil Schick (2-6). Joshua Davis singled and stole second. Kevin Valerio's single moved Davis to third. With runners at the corners Nick Motsinger executed a perfect squeeze bunt, allowing Valerio to go to second and Davis to score. Gerhard Muelheims followed with a double down the left field line that drove in Valerio.
The Pirates added two more in the seventh. Erik Nikssarian singled and went to second on Davis' sacrifice. Valerio and Motsinger walked to load the bases. After a pitching change, Muelheims walked to score Nikssarian. Tyler Pfeffer's infield single scored Valerio.
Whitworth took advantage of the game's only error to added a final run in the eighth. Nikssarian scored on a throwing error by the pitcher.
The win was momentous for the Pirates in two ways. It was Whitworth's first-ever win in the NCAA Division III tournament and also broke the school record for victories in a season.
Pfeffer went 3-4 at the plate to lead the Bucs. Muelheims, Nikssarian and Davis all had a pair of hits.