CARY, N.C. – After falling behind 3-1 the West Florida baseball team rallied back to defeat Mount Olive 5-3 punching their ticket to the programs first ever D-II National Championship game. With the victory West Florida improved to 51-9 eliminating the Trojans who finished with a 47-10 overall record.
Junior Ben Hawkins (11-3) (Rome, Ga./Wallace State CC-Hanceville (Model HS) toed the rubber for West Florida and allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits while striking out three in 3.2 innings of work. Zach Jadofsky (4-0) (Chipley, Fla./Enterprise State CC (Chipley HS) followed in relief hurling 3.2 shutout innings surrendering just one hit while fanning two batters picking up the win. Senior Zach North (1-1) (Miami, Fla./Nova Southeastern (Westminster Christian) came on to seal the victory for UWF in 1.2 no hit shutout innings striking out two Trojans earning the save.
Pete Levitt started on the mound for Mount Olive and tossed 6.1 innings allowing four runs on five hits while striking out seven batters. David Combs followed and was touched up for one run on two hits in 1.1 innings of work. Carter Capps, the D-II National Pitcher of the Year, came on in the eighth and hurled 1.1 innings of work surrendering just one hit.
Mount Olive got their offense rolling early taking the lead 1-0 in the first inning on a sacrifice fly to center field by Micheal knox. West Florida answered back with a run of their own in the second inning on a RBI single to centerfield by Josh Huggins (Bay Minette, Ala./Faulkner State CC (Baldwin County HS) scoring Dustin Lawley (Bessemer, Ala./Wallace State CC-Hanceville (Bessemer Academy) to clear the slate. The Trojans regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth in scoring two runs on a bases clearing double in the left field corner by Daniel Coffey, giving MOC the advantage 3-1.
The Argos took the lead in the seventh inning plating three runs edging the Trojans 4-3. Korey Domenick (Festus, Mo./Mineral Area (Festus HS) drove in the first run on a RBI single through the right side of the infield to bring in Leo Lamarche (Miami, Fla./Wallace State CC-Dothan (Krop HS). Greg Pron (Daphne, Ala./Daphne HS) came up and ripped a two RBI single with two away to bring in Domenick and Taye Larry (Panama City, Fla./Wallace State CC-Dothan (Mosley HS).
West Florida tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning on a two out RBI single by Tyler Hastings (Valparaiso, Fla./Niceville HS), off Capps, to score Eric Kroll (Pace, Fla./Pace HS), who pinch ran for Zach Taylor (Vandiver, Ala./Wallace State CC-Hanceville (Coosa Valley Academy) after a double to right field, ensuring the UWF victory 5-3.
The West Florida baseball team will play in the D-II National Championship game on Saturday at 12 p.m. ET. To find out who UWF will face for the title and for information on all UWF Athletics, visit www.GoArgos.com.