BALTIMORE – Sophomore right-hander Tommy Bergjans struck out 11 without a walk Saturday morning but one long fly that left the yard put an end to Bergjans' and Haverford College's season as sixth-ranked and host Johns Hopkins University rallied for a 5-3 win in an elimination game at the Centennial Conference baseball tournament.
The Fords (27-11) and Blue Jays (34-6) found themselves in the 9 a.m. game and facing extinction in the double-elimination playoffs after losing on Friday, Haverford to host Gettysburg College and Hopkins to visiting Franklin & Marshall College.
Except for one late inning, Bergjans looked like he would will the Fords into the next round of the tournament.
The Haverford starter struck out the side in the bottom of the first after his teammates provided a 2-0 lead in the top of the frame.
Nick Miranda led off the game with a single to left field off Blue Jays starting pitcher, Jacob Enterlin. Miranda rounded the bags for the first run of the contest when the next batter, George Hatamiya, tripled to right-center field. After a fly out to right, Justin Coulter grounded to the shortstop who threw to first for the sure out allowing Hatamiya to add run number two.
Hopkins used a single and a double to halve the lead in the bottom of the second, but Bergjans quickly settled back into rhythm and put down the Blue Jays in order in the third and fourth innings, with a pair of strikeouts in each, then ended a threat in the fifth with runners at first and second.
Haverford increased its lead by one in the sixth after Coulter struck out swinging but reached first base on a third-strike wild pitch. A hit batter moved Coulter up to second from where he was able to finish his circuit around the base paths on an RBI-single up the middle from Matt Liscovitz.
Bergjans failed to register a strikeout in the sixth and seventh innings but was no less in command as he didn't allow a hit or walk and induced the six batters he faced into easy infield ground outs.
One fateful inning did all the damage, though, as a single then hit batter put runners at first and second in the Hopkins half of the eighth. After a strikeout by Bergjans for the second out of the inning, Colin McCarthy rapped a single up the middle to score one run then Jeff Lynch, the Blue Jays' RBI leader, followed with a three-run home run over the left field fence.
An easy grounder right back at Bergjans closed the inning but a game-long lead had fallen by the wayside with only three outs remaining for the Fords.
Ace reliever Justin Drechsel, with a 0.82 ERA in 15 appearances, came on for Hopkins' Enterlin to get the final out in the top of the eighth then escaped damage in the ninth after William Bannard's one-out single brought the tying run up to the plate twice.
Bergjans (7-1) suffered his first loss of the season while breaking the program's single-season strikeout mark. The 11 Ks on the day improved his season total to 89, surpassing the old record of 85. Bergjans' 167 career strikeouts rank fifth all-time in the program, after just two seasons on the hill for the Fords.
In Saturday's loss Bergjans allowed just six hits over eight innings of work without a walk.
Drechsel (5-0) earned the win in the Blue Jays' come-back victory, giving up one hit without a walk and holding the Fords scoreless in his inning and a third on the mound.
Miranda and Alex Hudak contributed a pair of hits apiece in Haverford's efforts. Hudak and Liscovitz, playing in their final collegiate game, each added a stolen base during the loss.
Hopkins advances into another elimination game Saturday afternoon against the loser of the Gettysburg-F&M game which is slated for a 12:30 p.m. start in Baltimore.