Courtesy of the Trinity Sports information Department.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Junior Matt Koperniak (Adams, Mass.) went 5-for-5 with two home runs, three RBI and three runs scored to help propel the Trinity baseball team past the Salve Regina Seahawks, 7-2, in the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament on Saturday at Murren Family Field at DiBenedetto Stadium in Hartford. Trinity came back from down 2-0 in the elimination game after falling to Babson earlier in the day, 4-1. Salve Regina advanced after knocking Keystone out of the tournament in the day's first game, a 13-1 contest, while Babson moved to tomorrow's finals with the win over Trinity. The Beavers and Bantams will square off at 2:30 p.m. with Trinity needing to win twice to advance past this weekend.
Down, 2-0, in the top of the sixth with Trinity playing as the away team despite hosting the weekend's tournament, Koperniak stepped up to the plate to lead off the inning and promptly sent a solo homer over the right field fence to cut Salve Regina's lead to 2-1. That preceded a five run seventh inning for Trinity which made it a 6-2 game before Koperniak came up with two outs in the ninth and crushed a no-doubter that disappeared into the night sky and landed on Broad Street.
The Seahawks scored the game's first run in the bottom of the second on a ground ball out that scored Sean O'Malley (Darien, Conn.). Salve Regina opened up a 2-0 lead in the fifth when Zack Smith (New Canaan, Conn.) doubled home Dylan Ketch (Clinton, Conn.), but Trinity saw timely hitting in the game's late innings that proved to be the difference.
Salve Regina starter Michael Mathews (West Hartford, Conn.) shoved for five scoreless innings before giving up the solo blast to Koperniak in the sixth. Mathews finished with eight strikeouts in seven innings and allowed just one earned run despite being saddled with the loss. Trinity senior tri-captain Erik Mohl (Milton, Mass.) turned in a gutsy performance out of the pen, pitching for the second time today to earn his fifth win of the year. Mohl allowed just one hit in 2.1 innings of work and kept Salve from mounting any sort of comeback.
Senior centerfielder Geoff Stillman (Scituate, Mass.) reached base to lead off the eighth before stealing second and moving to third on a balk to put the tying run just 90 feet from home with no outs. Senior shortstop Ben Reinisch (Troy, N.Y.) followed with a walk to put runners at the corners before Koperniak smoke a single to left to tie the game and keep things moving. After a sacrifice bunt moved Koperniak and Reinisch up to second and third, senior tri-captain first baseman Johnny Stamatis (Ridgefield, Conn.) was intentionally walked to load the bases. With two outs, junior designated hitter Mack Lauder (Chappaqua, N.Y.) roped a ball to left-center that fell in for a bases clearing double to give Trinity a 5-2 lead. Sophomore second baseman Robbie Cronin (Wellesley Hills, Mass.) followed that with a double of his own to score Lauder and make it a 6-2 game before Koperniak iced the game with his second homer in the ninth.
2019 NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament Schedule
NCAA Regional Day 1 - Friday, May 17
(Hosted Trinity – Hartford, Conn.)
NCAA Regional Day 2 - Saturday, May 18
(Hosted Trinity – Hartford, Conn.)
ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE
The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of nine full member and one associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.