VALLEY CITY, N.D.-- Jonathan Folena's RBI single broke a 3-all tie in the seventh inning, and the Mayville State University Comets would add two more runs in the frame, taking a 5-3 victory over the University of Jamestown in the North Star Athletic Association championship game.
The win gives the Comets (46-10) the second of the NSAA's two automatic bids to the NAIA national championship tournament. Bellevue (Neb.), who won the NSAA regular season title, earned the other bid.
Jamestown (40-19) will find out Thursday at 3 p.m. if they qualify for an at-large bid. The Jimmies padded their chances for an at-large bid as they defeated No. 2 Bellevue in back-to-back elimination games on Sunday and Monday, and also recorded another win against the Bruins during the regular season while reaching 40 wins on the year.
The Jimmies and Comets traded runs in the first inning, with UJ scoring in the top half on a sacrifice fly by Landon Uetz (SR/West Fargo, ND). Mayville State answered in the bottom half as Andrew Hill came home on a Jimmie error.
Jerome Byndloss (JR/Las Vegas, Nev.) and Camran Bonnema held the opposition scoreless until the Comets scratched home a run in the bottom of the fifth on a fielder's choice by Hill.
Trailing 2-1 entering the sixth inning, Jamestown tied the game as Alex Sablan (SR/Port Orchard, WA) hit a pinch-hit home run. A wild pitch by Comet reliever Conner Starke allowed Christian Shouman (SR/Lake Stevens, WA) to score and the Jimmies led 3-2.
Byndloss, working on two days' rest, retired the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh, but ran into trouble. Nathan Walsh walked and Hill singled to left. Chase Thometz (JR/Sandy, OR) relieved Byndloss and gave up a game-tying single to Folena, then a single to Brady Nygaard that scored Hill. Nick Torres (JR/Bremerton, WA) replaced Thometz and surrendered an RBI single to Dondrei Hubbard for the third Comet run of the inning.
Kalton Agnes worked two scoreless innings for the save. He allowed a single in the eighth and two hits in the ninth, but kept the Jimmies off the scoreboard. Starke earned the win, tossing two shutout innings in relief of Bonnema.
The loss went to Byndloss, who went 6 2/3 innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits. He struck out eight and walked four. Beau Rabedeaux (JR/Poulsbo, WA) relieved Torres in the seventh and retired the four hitters he faced.
Folena and Hill had two hits for Mayville State. Shouman had two hits to lead the Jimmies, who also got hits from Nico Kelly (SR/Chicago Heights, Ill.), Uetz, Vince Sablan (SR/Port Orchard, WA), and Alex Sablan.