SAUGET, Ill. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology opened the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament with two consecutive wins for the first time in school history after defeating Washington University 6-5 on Thursday night.
Senior Karson Nixon pitched 8.2 innings and scattered seven hits with five strikeouts to improve to 8-2 on the season. Washington University rallied with three runs in the ninth inning, before junior Cody Sunderhaus recorded the final out with two runners on base to secure the victory.
Offensively, senior Hazen Hamather blasted a two-run home run and had two hits with one run and two RBIs. Senior Patrick Klima had a team-high three hits, including a double, and five Engineers had one hit each. The Fightin' Engineers scored two runs in the first, third and eighth innings, and relied on a strong defensive effort in the victory.
Senior shortstop Kody Alayon led the defensive performance with two spectacular plays. Alayon dove to his right to snag a line drive in the fifth inning. In the seventh, Alayon made a full out dive, spin and throw to retire a Washington University hitter.
Austin Darmawan and Ben Browdy led the Washington University offense with two hits each.
Rose-Hulman improved to 31-11 overall and will face Wisconsin-Whitewater on Friday afternoon at noon Central Time (1 p.m. Indiana time).
Both Rose-Hulman and Wisconsin-Whitewater are 2-0 in the NCAA Tournament, and Friday's winner will advance to the NCAA Regional Championship Round on Saturday. The Fightin' Engineers would play twice on Friday if they fall to UW-Whitewater on Friday afternoon.
NCAA Division III Central Regional Tournament Bracket:
Wednesday May 18
Game 1 — Wisconsin-Whitewater 11, Westminster (Mo.) 4
Game 2 — Rose-Hulman 7, Wartburg 2
Game 3 — Washington (Mo.) 8, Augustana (Ill.) 0
Thursday May 19
Game 4 — Wartburg 8, Westminster (Mo.) 0
Game 5 — Wisconsin-Whitewater 15, Augustana (Ill.) 3
Game 6 — Rose-Hulman 6, Washington (Mo.) 5
Friday May 20
Game 7 — Rose-Hulman vs. Wisconsin-Whitewater, Noon CT
Game 8 — Washington (Mo.) vs. Wartburg, 3:30 p.m. CT
Game 9 — Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 7 p.m.
Saturday May 21
Game 10 — Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 9, Noon CT
Game 11 — If necessary, same teams as in Game 10, 3:30 p.m. CT