CLEBURNE — Texas Lutheran rallied from a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 eighth-inning lead, but the Trinity Tigers rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to hold off the Bulldogs in the winner-take-all final game of the 2019 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Championship.
Trinity claimed the tournament title for the first time since 2016 and ended the Bulldogs one-year reign atop the conference.
Trinity receives the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship automatic bid. TLU must now wait over a week to learn its NCAA fate. The Bulldogs shared the SCAC regular-season championship this year with Trinity and went 3-3 against the Tigers this season.
TLU is 31-12 overall. Trinity moved to 34-10.
After Trinity took the early game 9-3, the Bulldogs fell behind 3-0 before scoring a pair of runs in the sixth and pair of runs in the eighth to take their first lead of the day.
In the sixth, Cullen Motsinger put TLU on the board with a sacrifice fly, and Thomas Varner scored on a passed ball.
In the eighth, Tyler Cauley tripled into the right field corner with two outs. Motsinger scored the tying run on the hit. Cauley then dashed home on a wild pitch as the Bulldogs took the lead.
Trinity answered with three runs in the eighth. The Tigers picked up and RBI single from Rafe Chaumette and an big RBI double into the left-center field gap off the bat of Dalys Binder.
Lead-off hitter Logan Morrison had two hits and scored two runs for the Tigers.
TLU started freshman left-hander Riley Backs, and he pitched into the fifth, allowing just two runs and striking out three.
Joe Burch, another TLU freshman, took TLU into the eighth with the lead. Burch went 2-2/3 and allowed one earned run. Drew Waller came on in relief in the eighth, with two runners on base, and attempted to record his third save in three days.
Jeff Lonnecker (5-1) picked up the win in relief for Trinity. Burch (1-1) took the loss for TLU.