Lucas Davenport tossed six strong innings, Jake Kolkhorst escaped a bases loaded jam in the ninth, and the No. 9 Blinn College baseball team defeated Galveston College 6-2 to advance to the Region XIV South Regional Tournament championship Friday at Leroy Dreyer Field in Brenham, Texas.

The Buccaneers (39-14) is now one victory away from its second consecutive Region XIV Super Regional berth, while the Whitecaps dropped into the losers bracket and into an elimination game with Tyler Junior College.

A weather delay and a 12-inning game between Tyler and Panola College earlier in the day delayed the start of Friday night’s tilt by almost three hours, but the long wait did little to slow the Bucs.

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(Pictured: Blinn freshman pitcher Lucas Davenport)

Davenport, a freshman, won his fourth consecutive start to improve to 6-2 on the season, containing Galveston on 97 pitches. He allowed one earned run on six hits while allowing three walks with five strikeouts. He also stranded 10 runners on bases.

“You’ll take six innings of one-run ball every single game, and that’s just what Davenport does,” Blinn head coach Dusty Hart said. “He got into some trouble tonight, but you would have never known it by looking at him. He’s Steady Eddie out there. When you’re out there on the mound, you have to have the right temperament to execute the right pitch and he’s special when it comes to that.”

Davenport exited with a 6-1 lead as Kolkhorst entered for a save opportunity. The sophomore cruised before hitting some turbulence in the ninth, but ended the Whitecaps’ threat when he induced a ground out to end the game.

Kolkhorst allowed an earned run on one hit and two walks while punching out six.

“The thing about Jake Kolkhorst is if you’re going to go to him, you might as well plan on him finishing the game,” Hart said. He’s a bulldog; he’s the ultimate competitor who always wants the ball. This was honestly the way we drew it up: Davenport goes deep into the game, and we hand the ball off to Jake. It worked out great for us tonight.”

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(Pictured: Blinn sophomore pitcher Jake Kolkhorst)

The Buccaneer offense did its part with nine runs and four walks.

Sophomore Marshall Lipsey drew a free pass with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first to open the scoring, and sophomore Cade Climie broke up a 1-1 tie with a two-run double to center field in the fourth.

Lipsey’s RBI single and a two-run base hit off the bat of sophomore Tony Vernars made it 6-1 in the fifth.

“Galveston’s starting pitcher (Jacob Cyr) is really good,” Hart added. “That’s one thing about Galveston that sticks out is their pitching, so we knew they were going to battle. You have to want to be the guy to get big hits in close games, and our guys stepped up today. They all played hard.”

Climie, sophomore Tanner Reaves, and freshman Caden Ferraro had two hits apiece.

Up next, the Bucs away the winner of the Galveston and Tyler, who will face off at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Blinn will have two chances to advance to the Super Regional, needing either a win Saturday or a victory Sunday in a winner-take-all matchup.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 47 NJCAA national championships since 1987.

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