KENT, Ohio - In their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, Tiffin baseball's offense stayed red-hot as they pounded out 17 runs on 21 hits to take down top-seed Ashland 17-10 in the opening round of the Midwest Regional on Thursday.
Showing no signs of intimidation by the bigger stage, the eighth-seeded Dragons scored one in the first, four in the second, four in the sixth, one in the seventh, six in the eighth, and one more in the ninth to pull off another upset and win their seventh-straight game.
The incredible run just continues for Tiffin, as the Dragons are now hitting .358 in the month of May with 9.7 runs per game and 13.4 hits per game.
The top three in the TU batting order each recorded four hits in today's game, as Cody Orr was 4-6 with two RBI, Brayden Callihan was 4-5 with three RBI, and Zach Campbell was 4-5 with four RBI. Four other Dragons had two hits, and John Heckman tallied three RBI, moving his season total to 59, a mark that is second all-time in a single season at Tiffin.
Orr got the start on the mound, going six innings to earn the win. Michael Ross threw two scoreless frames in relief.
The Dragons did not wait at all to get on the scoreboard, as Orr belted the first pitch of the game deep over the fence in center field. In the second, Jack Dennis led off the inning with a home run of his own, launching it over the wall in right to put Tiffin up 2-0. Two outs later, TU put together a rally, as Orr and Callihan notched back-to-back RBI singles and John Heckman walked with the bases loaded to put the Dragons up by five.
Ashland fought back, scoring three in the bottom of the frame and then two more in the fifth to knot the score at five.
Tiffin had the answer, though, bouncing back with a four-spot in the top of the sixth on run-scoring singles by Campbell and Nich Green and a two-RBI double off the bat of Heckman.
Callihan tacked another run on with an RBI single in the seventh, before Tiffin really broke things open in the eighth. The Dragons got runners on second and third with no outs, and Kyle Vance and Kole Klasic followed with back-to-back RBI singles to make it 12-7 in favor of TU. Callihan added his second RBI single in as many innings, before Campell stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and promptly cleared them with a triple to the wall in center.
The win avenged two early season losses that the Eagles handed to TU during Tiffin's 2-17 start, before the Dragons turned their season around on March 19. Since then, TU has gone 23-12 and won eight of their last nine.
Tiffin advances on the winner's side of the bracket, and will now face the winner of 4-seed Northwood and 5-seed Bellarmine tomorrow, May 17, at noon.