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Gordon takes command of Series

By Ken K. Green Gordon College entered the ten-school JUCO World Series as the tenth seed but now stands as the only unbeaten in the double elimination tournament after holding off number eight seed San Jacinto-North of Houston, Texas 9-7 in Grand Junction, Colorado Wednesday night. Highlanders (39-23) will play top seed Iowa Western (60-6) Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. local time. After scoring 33 runs in their first two series games, Gordon came out swinging as leadoff hitter Devin Bonin homered and the Highlanders would add another run for a 2-0 first inning lead. The Gators cut their deficit in half with a run in the third but Gordon exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fourth for an 8-2 lead. San Jacinto scored two runs in the fifth and Gordon got one of those back on a solo homer by Aaron Mizell in the bottom of the fifth to make it 9-3. The Highlanders had to hold on for dear life from there as they were shut out the rest of the way while the Gators scored a pair of runs in both the seventh and eighth innings. Andrew Fessler, who pitched 3.2 innings to earn a win the night before, came on with two out in the eighth and allowed only a hit in the final inning and a third to pick up a save. Starter Josh Wirsu got the win pitching six complete innings and allowing one earned run while scattering eight hits, walking three and striking out three. Dylan Griffin came on in the seventh after Wirsu gave up hits to the first two batters he faced. Griffin would pitch and inning and a third yielding two runs on a hit and a walk while striking out one. The home runs by Bonin and Mizell were the Highlanders only extra base hits. Bonin also had a single. Bobby Woodall, Drew Adams and Grant Massey had two hits each. Brian Jacobs, Chance Bridges and Christian Davila added one hit each. Woodall, Bridges and Masssey drove home two runs each. Top seed Iowa Western lost their first game of the tournament to San Jacinto 5-2 but have won three since beating Spartanburg Methodist 4-1, Western Nevada 6-4 and Neosho County 11-1. The Reivers, from Council Bluffs, are making their fourteenth JUCO World Series appearance (1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1989, 1991, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and won the national championship in 2010. Coached by Mark Rardin (454-143 in ten seasons), Iowa Wetstern won the Region XI and Northern district tournaments and are led by sophomore catcher Levi Meyer (.492 BA, 8 2B, 10 HR, 56 RBI) and sophomore third baseman Damek Tomscha (.446 BA, 23 2B, 15 HR, 63 RBI). The Reivers are expected to start their ace sophomore right hander Tanner Kreitemeir (11-0, 1.57 ERA prior to the tournament) on the mound. He suffered his first loss of the season to San Jacinto Saturday pitching seven innings and allowing four earned runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out three. Gordon coach Travis Mcclanahan will have to decide on whether to go with freshman righty Kevin Burgee (8-1, 5.02 ERA for the season) who has not pitched in the series or come back with sophomore southpaw Jeb Dills (6-2, 3.99 ERA) on three days rest. Dills got the win Sunday against Shelton State but only worked six innings in the run -rule shortened game allowing three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three. If Gordon beats Iowa Western, it would eliminate the Reivers and the Highlanders would play the San Jacinto/Shelton State winner for the national championship Friday night at nine o’clock. If Gordon loses they will still play Friday at nine against Shelton if they beat San Jacinto. If San Jacinto beats Shelton, the winner of a coin toss between Iowa Western and San Jacinto would get a bye to the national championship game while the coin toss loser would play Gordon Friday for the right to also play for the title. All of the JUCO World Series games can be viewed streaming live on NJCAA TV through www.njcaa.org.

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