Pueblo, Colo.: The Regis University baseball team will have a chance to win their first RMAC Championship after defeating New Mexico Highlands for the second time in two days 3-0. Junior Aaron Harms threw his second shutout in a row to improve to 8-1.
Regis (31-21) got on the board first in the top of the first with one out second baseman Nick Billinger hit a triple to left centerfield. Leftfielder Alex Haag then walked which brought first baseman Tony Piazza to the plate. Piazza hit a ball to the third baseman and Highlands (39-14) went to turn the inning-ending double play but Piazza hustled up the line and beat out the throw from second. Billinger was able to score to put Regis up 1-0.
That would be all that Harms would need as he shutdown one of the top offenses in the RMAC. Highlands got two of their hits in the first inning and had runners on first and third with two outs when Harms struck-out one of his career-high 13 batters to end the threat.
Harms retired the next six batters before the Cowboys' AJ Alexander singled to right field. Harms' counter-part Ray Torres settled in after the first inning and retired 13 of the next 14 before Billinger had his second hit of the game with a single up the middle. Haag came through with his second hit of the game with a triple down the right field line that got into the corner and drove in Billinger. The Rangers got another insurance run in the eighth inning when third baseman Dave Holland when opposite field doubling down the right field line to drive in catcher Nano Jacobsen who was hit by pitch in the previous at bat.
Harms finished the game looking as strong as he had started and entered the ninth inning with 118 pitches, but head coach Dan McDermott made the easy choice of leaving him in and Harms responded by putting the Cowboys' hitter down in order to send the Rangers to the RMAC Championship game. None of the last eight batters got the ball out of the infield and he was able to strikeout four of the last six hitters.
Harms had no walks in the game and lowered his RMAC-best ERA to 2.37. Holland, Haag and Billinger each had two hits to pace the Rangers with Jacobsen and Hastings supplying one each.
Regis will look to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the RMAC Championship which would be just the second in school history, joining the 1991 team.