Jennings, Jackson Homer in Win Over Taylor

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Story By: John Gatto, NAIA Host Site Coordinator

Kingsport, Tenn.~ Benedictine-Springfield's (Ill.) Tommy Jennings hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the top of the ninth, propelling the fifth-seeded Bulldogs to a come-from-behind 6-4 victory over fourth-seeded Taylor (Ind.) in an elimination game at the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round - Kingsport Bracket on Friday evening.

With the win, Benedictine-Springfield (25-24) advances on to the losers bracket finale tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. against third-seeded and American Midwest Conference rival Missouri Baptist. Taylor (35-14) was eliminated from the tournament with the defeat.

Things were moving smoothly for Taylor through eight innings, as the Trojans held a 4-2 lead entering the ninth. Taylor plated three runs in the bottom of the third to go up 3-1, then tacked on another run in the bottom of the seventh to go up two.

However, Benedictine-Springfield was able to stay in it after getting out of a few jams (Taylor stranded 14 runners on base in the game), and trailed by only two entering the top of the ninth, down to their last three outs. 

The Bulldogs got things going with back-to-back singles, then after a out, Jennings came to the plate with runners on first and third. The third baseman (who had hit a solo homer earlier in the contest) came through in a huge way, launching a pitch from Taylor's Caleb Miller well over the left field fence to give the Bulldogs a one-run lead.

Brett Jackson next came up, and with one swing gave the Bulldogs an insurance run, smacking a solo homer over the same left field fence to give Benedictine-Springfield the two-run lead.

In the bottom half of the inning, Taylor was able to force a lead-off walk, but Benedictine-Springfield pitcher Jordan Cawthon was able to force a game-ending double play to give the Bulldogs the wild, comeback win.

Overall, Jennings was dominant in the contest, going 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI. Meanwhile, Jackson was 3-for-4 with two RBI. On the mound, Cawhton (3-3) earned the win, tossing three and two-thirds of relief, allowing just one run on three hits.

Taylor was led in the loss by Grant Hendershot, who was 2-for-5 with two RBI. Miller (3-1) was the loser on the night for the Trojans. 

NAIA Opening Round Information