La Crosse, Wis., May 13, 2015 — Sophomore pitcher Scott Nelson tossed a complete-game three-hit shutout to lead the Washington University in St. Louis baseball team to a 2-0 win over Concordia University Chicago in the opening game of the 2015 NCAA Division III Midwest Regional Wednesday at Copeland Park.
Nelson (8-0) retired the first 17 batters of the game before allowing a two-out single in the top of the sixth inning. He allowed two walks and tied a career-high with eight strikeouts. Nelson's 8-0 record is tied for the best mark in school history. Tom Eckelman was also 8-0 in 1961.
Nelson escaped trouble in both the sixth and seventh innings with runners on second and third and two outs. He retired the side 1-2-3 in the eighth and ninth to preserve his first complete-game shutout. Senior Brandon Deger made a diving catch in left center to end the game.
"It felt good today. Before the game Coach (Ross) Clites mentioned that this was just another game. That is how I approached it, and I did not put too much pressure on myself," said Nelson, who threw 116 pitches in the win. "All three pitches were working, and it was all about keeping the hitters off balance."
"Attacking the strike zone is something I have always preached. Most of my game is getting ahead of hitters and throwing strikes," Nelson added.
WashU improved its overall record to 34-14, tying the single-season wins mark set in 2006. Concordia had its 11-game win streak snapped and dropped to 30-14. The Bears take on No. 20 University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Thursday at 7:45 p.m. in a winner's bracket game.
The Bears jumped in front of Concordia in the third inning, scoring a run on two hits. Senior Zack Kessinger started the rally with a two-out double down the left-field line, reaching base for the 53rd straight game dating to last season. Senior Brian Cizek then came through with a two-out RBI single to right to make it 1-0.
With Nelson in control on the mound, WashU's offense added another run in the fifth with a two-out rally. Sophomore Austin Darmawan singled up the middle for his second hit of the day, and then stole second base. Darmawan moved to third on a wild pitch, and came around to score when senior Chris Lowery lined a 3-2 pitch from Concordia starter Kurt Kempema to left.
"It feels great. It's been a long time since WashU has won a regional tournament game. We played a great team today and it was a total team effort," said fifth-year head coach Steve Duncan. "For Scott to come out and do what he did in his first taste of postseason play was unbelievable. He had everything working and was absolutely fearless."
Darmawan was 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base, while Cizek was 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI. WashU had six hits in the win, and did not commit an error for the 12th time this season.
Kempema (4-2) took the loss for Concordia allowing six hits, two runs and four walks while striking out one in eight innings.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: The game lasted one hour and 51 minutes, the Bears' shortest nine-inning game of the season … WashU is making its ninth NCAA appearance with an all-time record of 4-16 … The Bears snapped a nine-game NCAA losing streak and recorded their first tournament win since 2005 … The senior class recorded its 115th win, most in school history … Senior Andrew Goldstick played in his 168th game, tied for second in school history … Goldstick's single in the seventh inning was the 177th hit of his career, tied for eighth … Nelson tossed the second shutout of the season for the Bears … Darmawan recorded his 19th multi-hit game of the season.