UPDATE: The Gorloks are underway at the World Series and have now notched their first World Series win in a nail-biter over Kean University. Their next game is 3:30 p.m. on May 27 vs. the loser of the University of St. Thomas/Marietta College contest. The game will once again be video streamed live at ncaa.com. Original story continues below.
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For the first time in school history, the Webster University baseball team has advanced to the NCAA III World Series.
The Gorloks will be one of eight regional champions competing in the World Series next weekend, May 25-29, in Appleton, Wis. Webster defeated Birmingham-Southern College (Ala.), 3-2, to win the NCAA III Rhodes Regional at USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn., on May 19. To advance, Webster survived a nerve-racking ninth inning to preserve the win.
Webster swept through the regional, winning four straight games, knocking off Birmingham-Southern, seventh-ranked nationally, twice and #22 ranked DePauw University (Ind.) in the process. The Gorloks are now one of eight teams, out of 372 competing in baseball in NCAA III, to make it to the World Series. Webster is 35-12 on the season, and the 35 wins ties the programs’ all-time high for victories in a year, set in 2010.
Keeping the Gorlok faithful on edge, after walking the lead-off hitter in the ninth with Webster up 3-0, junior right-hander Cody Hafeli (Kankakee CC, Ill.) gave way to senior David Mueller (Westminster Christian Academy, Mo.). Mueller allowed two singles to load the bases but got a force out at the plate and struck out the next batter looking. A Gorlok error allowed two runners to score but Mueller averted disaster, striking out the next Panther to end the game, earning his second save of the season.
Hafeli gave the Gorloks their fourth straight solid start in the regional, pitching eight innings. He allowed just six hits, one run, and walked one. Hafeli improved to 9-1 on the year, leading the team in wins.
Junior third baseman Mitchell Bonds (Kankakee CC, Ill.) drove in junior OF Alex Kazmierski (Triton CC, Ill.) in the sixth inning for the Gorloks’ first run. Junior designated hitter Mike Rainbolt (Kankakee CC, Ill.) drove in two insurance runs in the eighth. Every batter in the Webster lineup had at least one hit. Kazmeirski wound up two for four, with two runs scored, and a stolen base.
All-Regional Team: Stoulp Wins MVP
Sophomore shortstop Taylor Stoulp (St. Mary’s HS, Mo.) was named the Most Valuable Player of the Regional. Senior Tom Henke (Lindbergh HS, Mo.), Matt Moore (SR, Air Academy HS, Colo.), Steve Dooley (JR, Florissant Valley CC, Mo.), Hafeli, and Stoulp were named to the All-Regional Team.
Webster becomes the first team from the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to win a regional and gain a berth in the NCAA III World Series. The Gorloks will take on the winner of the Eastern Connecticut Regional in the first round, Wheaton College (Mass.), at 10 a.m. May 25.