— TLU Bulldogs (@tluathletics) May 28, 2018
The Texas Lutheran Bulldogs entered play at the NCAA Division III World Series on Sunday afternoon needing a victory simply to avoid elimination.
But after an amazing 11-hour stretch during which they won two games at Appleton, Wis., they moved into position to claim a berth in the championship series.
First, TLU beat Swarthmore, Pa., 3-2, in 13 innings.
Next, the Bulldogs took about a four and a half-hour breather before starting a second game Sunday night against the Concordia Chicago Cougars.
Finally, they knocked off the Cougars 9-7 in a game that ended at about 1 a.m. Monday.
TLU’s dramatics set up a day in which champions from both brackets will be decided Monday afternoon.
Randolph Macon, Va., is scheduled to take on UT Tyler at noon. TLU will meet Concordia Chicago for the third time in three days at about 3:30 p.m.
The winners of those two games will open the best-of-three national title series on Tuesday.
TLU remains in the championship discussion after surviving a shaky start, hitting their way into a 9-6 lead and then hanging on at the end for the victory.
Concordia hung three runs on the board for a 3-0 lead in the first inning against TLU starter Zach Perry.
But after Clint Johns relieved in the second and started throwing strikes consistently, the Bulldogs battled into the lead.
They led 6-4 and 6-5 before Concordia came back to tie it 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth.
In the top of the ninth, TLU exploded for three more and then held on in the last inning for the win.
Concordia, in its last at bat, scored once to make it a two-run game against Drew Waller.
But with runners at first and second base and two out, Waller got Keegan Tyrell to ground sharply toward third.
Thomas Varner made a diving stop, came up firing and beat the runner with his throw by half a step.
Keaton Boysen produced three hits and scored twice for TLU. All-American Riley Schaefer had two hits and three RBI.
Varner, Matthew Lemon and Spencer Brandt all slapped two hits apiece.
Texas Lutheran 41-10
Concordia Chicago 40-14