Appleton, Wis. – The Cal Lutheran baseball team captured the first NCAA Division III National Championship in program history after rallying for two wins over Washington & Jefferson at Fox Cities Stadium. The Kingsmen finished as a runner-up in 1992 and 1996.
After dropping the first game of a best-of-three series to the Presidents on Monday 12-2, the Kingsmen flipped the script with a 12-4 victory in game two and a 7-2 win in game three to claim the title.
Facing elimination in game two of the series, CLU avenged its game one loss and then some by racking up 22 hits for 12 runs while getting a gutsy pitching performance from junior Nate Wehner, throwing on two day’s rest. He tossed a complete game and allowed just six hits while striking out eight.
After taking care of business in game two to force a deciding game three, CLU turned to freshman pitcher Scott Roberts, this time on just one day’s rest. After pitching in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship game and the West Region Semifinal, the freshman stepped into the spotlight for the biggest game of his young career and gave CLU six strong innings allowing just five hits and two runs while striking out four.
After entering the game in the seventh inning, Miguel Salud pitched the final three innings to hold off any thought of a W&J comeback while notching his 14th save of the year to set a new CLU single-season record.
Along with the record, Salud earned Most Outstanding Player honors after posting a 1.23 ERA with three saves, nine strikeouts and just one earned run in four appearances and 7.1 innings.
Also named to the All-Tournament Team were Weinstein, Kay, Fullerton, Saito and Wehner. Weinstein was a catalyst at the top of the lineup for CLU throughout the College World Series and finished with a .393 average (11-for-28) with six runs scored, a homerun and four RBIs. Fullerton led the team with a .478 average (11-for-23) with six runs and six RBIs while Saito also tallied 11 hits for a .458 average to go with seven runs and five RBIs. Kay came through with five hits on championship Tuesday and finished the tournament with a .346 average and seven RBIs. Wehner, meanwhile, was instrumental in keeping the Kingsmen alive, finishing with 16.1 innings thrown, one complete game and 15 strikeouts.
Cal Lutheran finishes with an overall record of 40-11.