BALTIMORE – Johns Hopkins took the opening game of its best-of-three NCAA Division III super regional series against Shenandoah University, dropping the Hornets, 6-3, on Friday afternoon.
SU (35-14) will need to win twice on Saturday to advance to the NCAA Division III College World Series in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the first time since making back-to-back appearances in the CWS in 2009 and 2010.
Johns Hopkins (34-11) took the lead Friday with three runs in the bottom of the third inning and got a combined eight-hitter from pitchers Jack Bunting and Josh Hejka to overpower the Hornets.
Bunting allowed one run on four hits and three walks over six innings of work before turning it over to Hejka, who posted his sixth save of the season with three innings of relief.
After the Blue Jays extended their lead to 4-0 with a run in the fourth inning, Shenandoah got on the board with a run in the top of the sixth. Senior first baseman Luke Nussman drove in Frankie Ritter, who led off the inning with a double, but the inning ended on the same play when Tristan Baker was thrown out at the plate after Nussman drew a throw to second following his single to center.
The Hornets, trailing 6-1, scored twice more on three hits in the top of the ninth, with Jamie Naill driving in the final run with a single to right-center.
Shenandoah senior left-hander Robert Klinchock (7-5) took the loss after allowing six runs (five earned) on 13 hits and four walks while striking out nine in 7 ⅔ innings.
Klinchock allowed a solo homer to Tim Kutcher in the third inning, as well as a bases-loaded walk and an RBI groundout in the frame. Chris Festa doubled home a run for the Blue Jays in the fourth, and Mike Eberle had an RBI single in the sixth and a run-scoring double in the eighth to extend Hopkins’ lead.
The two teams return to action at noon today, with an if-necessary Game 3 to follow. Shenandoah will be the home team in Game 2.