JOLIET, Ill. --- Center fielder Matt Owen delivered a clutch two-run single and scored the eventual game-winning run two wild pitches later as No. 1 seed York College rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the eighth inning to knock off No. 3 seed Judson University, 4-3, in the title game of the NAIA Baseball National Tournament Opening Round Joliet Bracket and punch its ticket to its first-ever NAIA World Series berth on Saturday afternoon at Silver Cross Field.
Judson, which finished its season at 46-17, was in complete control through the first seven innings. First baseman Tony Rallo, who homered in the first game of the day, delivered again in the nightcap just after York turned an important double play to clear the bases in the opening inning.
Rallo (3-for-4) also fueled a two-run fifth inning following up third baseman Mark DeYoung's run-scoring single with one of his own.
Judson starter Craig Lipp, who was coming off just one day of rest, did not give up a hit until one out into the fifth inning, but that, combined with a walk and a wild pitch, allowed York to put its first run on the board.
The Panthers produced only one other hit through the first seven innings before opening the eighth inning with back-to-back singles to center field by third baseman Jordan Leis and Jordan Pella. Second baseman Josh Nuyten's sacrifice moved the runners over to second and third base setting the stage for Owen to push a single through the left side of the infield. Owen moved to second on the throw before a pair of wild pitches enabled him to score the game's final run.
Lipp, despite allowing only five hits in 7 1/3 innings, was tagged with the loss to end his season at 9-3.
Julio Angulo worked a scoreless eighth inning in relief of starter Tyler Molder (7 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs, 3 strikeouts) to get the win. That upped his record to 8-0 on the campaign.
Aaron Conyers, who went the distance in Friday's 5-0 win over Judson, pitched the ninth inning to earn his first save. He opened the frame by walking second baseman Brian Brauer, who moved to second base on a sacrifice, but was left stranded there.
York will take a 44-10 record and wins in 35 of its last 38 games into the NAIA World Series, which runs May 24-31 in Lewiston, Idaho.