Behind a brilliant pitching performance from Eddie Sipple, the Moccasins stayed alive in the NCAA Division II South Regional and eliminated the nation's top-ranked team 3-1 Sunday at Magnolia, Ark.
The win over Southern Arkansas advances the Moccasins (41-15) to Monday's championship against Sunshine State Conference foe Lynn. The first game of what the Moccasins hope will be a doubleheader starts at 11 a.m. central time, with the second game to follow if needed. The Moccasins have to beat Lynn twice, while Lynn needs just one win to advance to the Division II Championship at Cary, N.C., May 23-30.
Sipple pitched into the eighth inning, scattering four hits and allowing just one run while striking out five and walking two to improve his record to 3-2. Daniel Tillman came on after Sipple gave up a leadoff single to Dane Lucas in the eighth and finished the game to earn his 12th save of the season.
Southern Arkansas' biggest threat came in the fifth. A single, a walk and a hit batsman loaded the bases with no outs. After Lucas struck out, James Schroeder drew a bases-loaded walk to force in a run. That brought Cannon Lester, SAU's leading hitter to the plate. Lester had not grounded into a double play all season, but Sipple was able to get him to hit into an inning-ending double play to kill the rally.
All three of the FSC runs were unearned. Trae Gore reached on an error to start the game and came in to score on an infield out by Nick Stanley. In the fifth, Robbie Shields reached on a two-out error and scored on Stanley's triple. Zach Maggard followed with an RBI-single to score Stanley.
The Muleriders had one more chance in the bottom of the ninth when Patrick Johnson led off with an infield single, but Tillman then struck out the side to end Southern Arkansas' season at 52-11.