WASHINGTON, PA – Joe Professori sent a 1-2 pitch deep into the left field gap to score David Lemley from second base and give #1 seed La Roche an incredible comeback win in their NCAA Mideast Regional opener. The Redhawks trailed by a run heading into the bottom of the ninth before rallying to beat #8 seed Widener 7-6.
Widener's Bob Barnett scored on a passed ball in the top of the first inning but La Roche answered to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning. Colin Williamson led off with a ground-rule double and advance to third on a Corey Lazor single up the middle. Luis Navedo then singled down the line to score both Williamson and Lazor.
The Pride grabbed the lead with 3 runs in the second and another in the third. An RBI double by Michael Elfreth and a pair of run-scoring singles highlighted Widener's run.
La Roche got one back in the fifth and again Willy was involved in the scoring. Williamson led off the inning with a double just inside the third base bag and scored on a Lazor bloop single to right.
Widener went up 6-3 in the sixth and had the bases loaded in the seventh but Brady Hamer got a strike out, fly out to keep the game in reach. The Redhawk offense backed up Hamer's gutsy performance to get within one after eight. Shane Roebuck doubled down the left field line to score Professori and Williamson hit in Roebuck two batters later.
Anthony Romano stranded a runner on base in the top of the ninth to help set the heroics in the bottom half of the inning. Ben Herstine got things going by ripping a one out double into the right-centerfield gap. Lemley singled past the diving shortstop to score Herstine and then swiped second to get in scoring position. Three pitches later, Professori found the gap with a walk-off double.
Williamson played a huge role in the Redhawks' win going 5 for 5 with 2 doubles, 2 runs and an RBI. Navedo had three hits and drove in a pair while Lazor and Roebuck each finished with 2 hits, an RBI and scored.
Hamer was terrific in relief limiting Widener to just one run over 5 innings. Dating back to last season, Hamer has allowed just one run in 11 NCAA Regional innings. Romano threw a scoreless ninth inning to earn his third win of the season.
The Redhawks advance in the winner's bracket and will face The College of New Jersey tomorrow at 4:30pm. TCNJ defeated Ohio Wesleyan 10-0 in the early game.