Carpenter shuts down Saints, sends Hawks into GLVC Tournament title game

Tyler Carpenter

Quincy University left-hander Tyler Carpenter delivers a pitch during Saturday's game against Maryville in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament in Marion, Ill. | Photo courtesy Stephanie Boynton

MARION, Ill. — Tyler Carpenter got mad. Then he got nasty.

That made the Maryville baseball team’s plans to rally obsolete.

The Quincy University left-handed reliever entered Saturday’s Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament game in the fifth inning with the Hawks ahead 9-7, two outs and two runners on base. The Saints’ Jed Zebig greeted him with an RBI single up the middle before Carpenter ended the inning with a flyout to right field.

Still, the hit and the run rankled him.

“I got back in the dugout and I was pretty fired up with myself,” said Carpenter, who allowed Zebig to hit an 0-2 curveball. “Ever since my injury last year in the regional, I didn’t feel like myself. But something clicked in the dugout where I just got really, really mad in the moment.

“I went out there knowing that I needed to do something and no one was going to touch my stuff after that. It worked.”

Maybe he needs to get mad at himself more often.

“I know,” Carpenter said. “That’s what I was thinking.”

Maryville didn’t score over the final four innings, managing just one more hit off Carpenter as he retired the final 11 batters he faced in guiding the top-seeded Hawks into the championship game on the strength of a 12-8 victory at Mtn Dew Park.

“I’m glad it clicked and I was able to go out there and save some arms for championship Sunday,” Carpenter said.

The Hawks (43-9) will square off against sixth-seeded Drury (30-23) at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. QU right-hander Jay Hammel, who has won his last three starts, will get the ball with a rested and ready bullpen behind him thanks to Carpenter’s yeoman-like effort.

Although it hadn’t been the smoothest senior season — Carpenter pitched only 8 ⅔ innings prior to Saturday — he has a history of coming up clutch when the Hawks need it most. Last year’s conference tournament is a prime example.

Needing a win to reach the title game, Carpenter struck out eight over eight innings of a 9-4 victory over Lewis.

“Having him down there in the bullpen, man, he has playoff experience and it showed,” QU coach Matt Schissel said. “He came out and was unfazed. He did such a good job, and honestly, he saved us for tomorrow. At one point, I had five guys moving around in the bullpen, but he came in and closed the door for us.”

Carpenter hadn’t thrown more than two innings or 46 pitches in any appearance this season.

He went 4 ⅓ innings this time, tossing 59 pitches with seven strikeouts, one walk and two hits allowed.

“(Schissel) kept asking me if I felt good, and I kept feeling good,” Carpenter said. “I wanted to keep going. I knew if we could save some arms for tomorrow it would be more beneficial. So I keep going. We kept talking and it kept working.”

The Hawks helped him out by taking on additional runs. Luke Napleton drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, and Brock Boynton capped a two-run eighth with an RBI sacrifice fly.

The offense was steady throughout, scoring once in the first and in six of nine innings overall. A three-run home run by Maryville’s Hager in the bottom of the first gave the Saints the lead, but the Hawks regained it for good with a six-run third inning.

Lance Logsdon’s bases-clearing triple made it 5-3 and was one of two hits the first baseman had. He’s 7 for 12 in the tournament with four extra-base hits and five RBIs.

Gino D’Alessio returned to the lineup and went 3 for 5 with three runs scored in the leadoff spot, while Dustin DuPont went 3 for 6 and Boynton went 2 for 3.

“Going into the championship game and going into next week (NCAA regionals), showing ways to win when we’re not playing our best is the most promising thing for me,” Schissel said. “We’ve won a lot of game handily this year, but finding ways to win when you’re not winning 15-2 is good.”

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