University secures spot in 3A baseball title game as Faith Christian, Lamar, Eaton advance

(Cannon Casey/CHSAANow.com)

GREELEY — University emerged as the lone unbeaten in the Class 3A baseball state tournament with a 7-6 win in extra innings against Faith Christian.

"That's a rollercoaster," University coach Casey Miller said. "That is an absolute rollercoaster of emotions."

Grayson Swanson grounded a single to left field to give the walkoff win after a 6-0 lead was erased.

"Just get something in play," Swanson said on his approach. "When you have no outs with runners on first and second with the guys behind me, even if I don't get on base, I know that my brothers behind me — I know that every single one of them has the ability to win that game right there."

Koy Jorgensen started on the mound for University, but only had 30 pitches available due to pitch count rules after he pitched on Friday. Jorgensen turned in 2 1/3 shutout innings, before being replaced by Lee Strang.

"I thought he'd be the pace setter. I didn't know how good he was going to be, but he did awesome," Miller said. "That's what we talked about as a coaching staff. We got together and said, 'Who gives us the best chance early?' No doubt that he was the guy to go to there."

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before Faith Christian was able to record an out.  Grayson Swanson grounded a ball to short that got through Faith Christian's Macklin Brockmeyer to score a run. Then, Strang cleared the bases with a triple in the gap, and scored on a throwing error on the relay.

"Last year, they beat us in regionals and knocked us out before we could even get here," Swanson said. "I knew from that moment that I wanted to get this team again. When we got off to that 4-0 lead, it felt great."

University grabbed another run by capitalizing on Faith Christian mistakes. After a passed ball on a strikeout and infield single that didn't reach the pitcher's mound, Nolan Johnson beat out a double play to push another run across in the third inning.

Faith Christian University baseball

(Cannon Casey/CHSAANow.com)

A Swanson solo homerun to left field made it 6-0 University.

Faith Christian wouldn't go easy, as University made it's own mistakes. Two walks, a passed ball, a balk, and the first hit of the game closed the lead to 6-2 in the fifth inning. 

"I knew they weren't going to hand it to us after that," Miller said. "There was a lot of baseball left, and I tried relaying that message to these guys that we still have to plug away. I knew they'd give us a mouthful. I didn't want that much of one, but I knew it would be tough."

The Eagles were able to post two scoreless innings after Swanson's solo shot, then loaded the bases in the seventh.

University saw it's 6-2 lead turn to 6-4, then 6-6 before the inning ended. The Bulldogs were playing for just one run in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn't push it across.

They got their run in the eighth.

"A little rollover to left field gets it done," Miller said. "He is our power guy, and then a rollover wins it. That's baseball."

In the loser's bracket, Lamar stayed alive, beating Peak to Peak 15-13. Peak to Peak led 8-5 after five.

Eaton exploded with two seven-run innings in a 17-2 win over Lutheran. The Reds' Trent Kramer lost a no-hit bid with no outs in the fifth inning.

The Final 4 will take place at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. next Friday at Butch Butler. 

Faith Christian University baseball

(Cannon Casey/CHSAANow.com)