The eighth-ranked and fifth-seeded Buccaneers were eliminated in the tournament semifinal round, falling to Weatherford College 12-2 in five innings on Thursday at Sam Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colo.
Blinn ended its run in the tournament with a 2-2 record and closed out its season at 46-15 overall.
“I’m always going to remember the grit and heart of the guys on this team,” Buccaneers head coach Dusty Hart said. “I don’t think anybody in the United States of America would have picked us to be here right now, and to be one of the last four teams standing is pretty special and they’re going to remember that. They’re going to hurt for a couple days, but at the end of the day if you would have told them they would win 30 games, they probably would have been happy. What I’m most proud of is that we believed the entire season that we were supposed to be here.”
After advancing into the semifinal round by virtue of a shutout win over Gaston College on Wednesday, Blinn ran into a familiar foe in Weatherford. The Coyotes, of Weatherford, Texas, took two of three ballgames from the Bucs during both teams’ season-opening series in January, and looked the part of a championship contender with a big day against Blinn.
Weatherford (53-10) got to Blinn starting pitcher Bryson Dudley for four runs in the bottom of the first inning and tacked on two more in the third.
The Buccaneers would get on the board in the top of the fourth when freshman Coy DeFury singled in sophomores Ryan Scott and Ian Collier, but that was all Blinn would muster against Weatherford hurler Ryne Rodriguez.
(Pictured: Blinn’s Ryan Scott connects for a single during a game against Weatherford in the NJCAA Division I Baseball World Series on June 1)
Blinn tallied four hits.
Dudley was charged with six runs (five earned) on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings of work.
The Coyotes closed it out in the fifth with six runs, including a three-run homer run to force the run rule.
Though Blinn fell short of its first national championship, its accomplishments this spring were many.
(Pictured: Blinn’s Bryson Dudley delivers a pitch during a game against Weatherford in the NJCAA Division I Baseball World Series on June 1)
In Hart’s first season at the helm, the Buccaneers tallied 46 victories, its most since a 40-win campaign in 2009. Blinn also won the Region XIV South Zone for the first time since 2001 and made its first World Series appearance since 2014.
“This is a pretty special group,” added Hart. “It was about more than just baseball. I don’t know that we were the most talented team in the world, but this group just battled and fought. I’m super proud of them and I love every single one of them. They believed all year that they belonged, and they helped me create the foundation for the future of Blinn baseball.”
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 43 NJCAA national championships since 1987.