ST. PAUL, Minn. – For the first time in program history, the Bethel Royals are Playoff champions of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) after defeating Saint John's, 8-0, Sunday afternoon at CHS Field.
A five-run first inning combined with a masterful pitching performance by freshman right-hander Sam Riola boosted the Royals to victory in the Conference title game. Riola allowed only one hit in seven innings of work, striking out five against a trio of walks. Connor Malcolm came on in relief for the final two frames, giving up a walk and a hit. Three Royals – Sam Horner, Joey Fredrickson and Bo Lovdahl – finished with multiple runs batted in, while Fredrickson led the group with three hits, including the only extra-base knock of the game.
First baseman Jeron Terres was the only Johnnie to manage a hit off Riola, while catcher Mike Reilly logged a single off Malcolm. Right fielder and 2017 MIAC Max Molock Player of the Year Wyatt Ulrich finished the game with a walk and stolen base. Five different pitchers took the mound for Saint John's, with Joey Stock – who entered the game in the second inning – eating up three and two-thirds innings and striking out four in relief duty.
Following the game, Bethel was presented with the MIAC Baseball Playoff Championship plaque. The Royals also received the Conference's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament. All eyes now turn to Monday's bracket announcement, where the regular season MIAC champion Johnnies will hope for an at-large bid to the "Big Dance." The Johnnies rank No. 4 in the latest NCAA Midwest Region Rankings. The NCAA Tournament field will be announced Monday on NCAA.com.
MIAC BASEBALL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Saturday, May 12, 2018 | PROGRAM |
Game 5: No. 2 Bethel 3, No. 1 Saint John's 2 | Box Score | Recap | Photos |
Game 6: No. 4 St. Thomas 6, No. 6 Gustavus 5 | Box Score | Recap | Photos |
Game 7: No. 1 Saint John's vs. No. 4 St. Thomas | Box Score | Recap |
All Playoff information including seedings, scores and recaps can be found on the 2018 MIAC Baseball Playoffs. Fans can also follow the action on the MIAC Scoreboard, on the free MIAC mobile app, and on social media through the MIAC's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.