Wingate Caps Historic Title Run With 5-3 Win Over #2 Central Missouri

Cary, N.C.-The sixth-seeded and 16th-ranked Wingate University Bulldogs capped off an incredible run by defeating top-seeded and second-ranked Central Missouri 5-3 in the NCAA Division II national championship game Saturday afternoon. Wingate wins the first NCAA Division II baseball title in school or SAC history, capping an amazing week that saw the ‘Dogs win five straight elimination games against top-15 opponents. The Bulldogs end the incredible 2021 season with a 39-13 overall record, while Central Missouri ends the campaign at 46-8. Wingate is just the third team in the history of the NCAA Division II tournament to win the title after losing the opening game in the eight-team field format, and the first since 2005.

KEY STATS

– Wingate out-hit Central Missouri 9-5
– Each team had one extra-base hit
– The Mules committed the only three errors of the contest
– The Bulldogs left nine on base; UCM stranded six
– WU pitching struck out seven and walked four; the Mules had seven strikeouts and a walk

KEY BULLDOGS

– Logan McNeely had a hit, two RBI and a run scored to lead the offense
– Gehrig Christopher went two-for-four with an RBI
– Grayson Chapman contributed a pinch-hit RBI double
– McCann Mellett added a hit and two runs scored
– Jed Bryant was two-for-four with a run scored
– Michael Dansky also had a hit and a run scored
– Sam Broderson worked five no-hit innings in relief, striking out five and walking just one
– Hunter Dula worked the first four innings, allowing three runs on five hits

NOTES

– Wingate was making its first-ever appearance in the Division II World Series
– Seventh NCAA Tournament appearance
– Second NCAA team national title in Wingate Athletics history (men’s soccer – 2016)
– The Bulldogs now have the only two NCAA team titles in SAC-sponsored sports
– First Southeast Region team to win the national title since Mount Olive in 2008
– The 39 wins are the most in Wingate’s NCAA program history since the 1996 team went 46-10
– The ‘Dogs staved off elimination for the fifth straight day
– Wingate had to defeat #14 Southern New Hampshire Tuesday and #4 Seton Hill Wednesday
– The Bulldogs beat #9 Angelo State Thursday and again Friday in 11 innings
– Wingate went 8-1 against top-20 opponents in this year’s NCAA Tournament
– The ‘Dogs also defeated #7 Catawba in the SAC Tourney, giving them nine postseason wins over ranked teams
– Wingate adds this trophy to the SAC Tourney and Southeast Region title
– The Bulldogs won 15 of their last 17 games of the season
– The ‘Dogs went 9-1 in the NCAA Tourney, with eight of those wins coming over top-20 teams
– Wingate is the first team since Florida Southern in 2005 to win the title after a round-one loss
– The only other two teams to win it after a round-one loss in the eight-team format – Columbus State in 2002 and Cal Poly in 1989 (title vacated)
– Only the fifth time this season the Mules have scored less than five runs
– Central Missouri had won 16 of 17 prior to Saturday’s title game
– McNeely was named the World Series MVP
– He was joined on the All-Tourney team by Mellett, David Nash and Brody McCullough
– McNeely was 12-for-26 in the World Series with six RBI and four runs scored
– Mellett had a double, homer, three RBI and five runs scored
– McCullough had two appearances, allowing four runs in 14 innings with 15 strikeouts
– Nash tossed the only complete game of the 2021 World Series, allowing a run while striking out seven
– The Wingate pitching staff posted a 3.27 team ERA in the World Series
– Nine-game hitting streak for McNeely, piling up 18 hits in the stretch
– He led all players in the World Series with 12 hits
– Andrew McKay had a hit in 13 of Wingate’s 14 postseason games this season
– Mellett had a team-high 30 extra-base hits and 62 runs scored this season
– Broderson appeared in four of Wingate’s six World Series games
– Career-high five innings, career-high tying five strikeouts for the freshman
– Broderson registered the win in the SAC championship game and the national championship game

THIRD INNING

– Wingate got on the board first in the bottom of the third inning with a pair of runs
– Mellett started things with a one-out single, then moved to third when Dansky reached on an error
– McNeely drove home Mellett when he reached on an error
– Bryant followed with a hot shot down the third base line that was misplayed, allowing Dansky to score

FOURTH INNING

– The Mules answered with three in the top of the fourth
– An RBI double from Alex Madera started the scoring
– Brennen Van Breusegen followed with an RBI single to tie it at two
– An RBI single from Josh Schumaker gave Central Missouri a 3-2 advantage

FIFTH INNING

– Wingate regained the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth
– Mellett drew a leadoff walk, then went to second on a Dansky sacrifice bunt
– McNeely followed with an RBI single to plate Mellett and tie it at three
– McNeely moved to second on a Bryant single
– Christopher followed with an RBI single to score McNeely and make it 4-3

SEVENTH INNING

– Bryant started the inning with a single, then moved to second on a wild pitch
– He scored on a clutch pinch-hit RBI double from Chapman to make it 5-3

NINTH INNING

– Broderson started the top of the ninth with a strikeout, then got a groundout
– He allowed his first baserunner of the day on a two-out walk
– The freshman rebounded with a strikeout to end it, sending the Wingate crowd into a frenzy as the Bulldogs met for their third and final dogpile of the year in the infield

WRAPUP

– Broderson got the win, moving to 3-1
– He overpowered the second-ranked Mules in five innings, allowing just one baserunner while striking out five
– Broderson entered with a man on and no outs in the fifth and got a strikeout and double play to end it
– He got two flyouts and a strikeout in the sixth, two groundouts and a flyout in the seventh and a groundout, strikeout and flyout in the eighth
– The freshman lowered his season ERA to 2.54
– Chase Plymell got the loss, falling to 3-1
– He allowed two runs on two hits in two innings, striking out three