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St. Scholastica advances to the NCAA tournament with rout over Northwestern

St. Scholastica's Trevor Bernsdorf swings at a pitch from Northwestern during Saturday's Upper Midwest Athletic Conference championship. The Saints won 14-4 and will advance to the NCAA Division III tournament. Photo courtesy of Ryan Coleman

There was no drama this time around for the St. Scholastica baseball team.

A day after winning a pair of nailbiters at the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference tournament, the Saints waltzed past Northwestern 14-4 in Saturday’s conference championship game in St. Paul to advance to their 10th consecutive NCAA Division III tournament.

St. Scholastica (30-10) removed all the suspense from this one with an eight-run outburst in the fifth inning that more than negated the Eagles’ four-run first, which dazed the UMAC heavyweights, who responded in dominant fashion en route to their 17th straight league tournament title.

After St. Scholastica reliever Daniel Wood struck out the first batter he faced to help the Saints wiggle out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the fifth, things got ugly for Northwestern. Austin Colvard and Trevor Bernsdorf each produced two-RBI singles to key the game-changing rally that turned St. Scholastica’s 4-3 deficit into an 11-4 lead. Seven of the Saints’ eight fifth-inning runs were unearned — emblematic of a Northwestern squad that committed six errors, four alone by shortstop Andy Haagenson.

The Eagles (20-19), playing in their third UMAC championship game in as many seasons, had lost to St. Scholastica 6-4 on Friday.

Wood allowed two hits in two scoreless innings of relief work to earn the pitching victory for the Saints, who ended the title tilt early when Mike Policano scored the final run — on an error — to push the lead to 10.

St. Scholastica, which extended its winning streak to 20 games while reaching the 30-win mark for the 15th time in the past 16 seasons, will find out who and when it plays in the NCAA tournament when the regional brackets are unveiled either late tonight or early Monday morning.

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