Nobody expected Concord, the closest school to the site of the tournament, to become the road warriors.
But thanks to a fiery tractor-trailer accident on the West Virginia Turnpike, the Mountain Lions sat in their bus for a long, long time Thursday. After they finally made it to Epling Stadium, they limbered up and downed the University of Charleston 5-1.
The 2-hour, 4-minute game didn't last as long as the 40-mile trip from Athens.
"We were in one spot for an hour and 45 minutes," said Concord coach Andrew Wright. "It went quicker than I thought it was going to, but our guys did a very good job of staying focused and make sure we didn't let that get us out of our game."
Devin Smith went 4 for 5 with a double, a triple and an RBI. Kevin Mack pitched into the ninth, allowing just two baserunners from the fourth through eighth innings. Will Zuspan got the last two outs to send Concord (34-18) into the 6:30 game tonight against Fairmont State or Shepherd.
UC's Alec Austin gave up a single run on six hits in the first six innings. With Igor Molina knocking in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third, the Golden Eagles (20-28) kept a 1-1 tie into the seventh.
That's when Concord manufactured the go-ahead run on a Joey Miller single, a Josh Wenger sacrifice bunt and a Jerrod Groves single. The Mountain Lions expanded the lead with three runs in the eighth, starting with a Smith triple and ending with a two-run Bret Blevins single.
UC (20-28) faces an elimination rematch at 9:30 a.m. today against Seton Hill, ranked ninth nationally. The Eagles defeated the Griffins 16-14 win Wednesday. Freshman Tyler Shreve will start UC.
Pat McCarthy went 2 for 5 with 3 RBIs, including a two-run homer in that sixth inning. West Liberty, which scored on an Anthony Pierro single in the seventh inning, finished at 20-27.
Nick Opferman (8-0) allowed 13 hits while striking out eight in eight innings for the Falcons (22-24), who next play at 12:30 p.m. today against the Shepherd-West Virginia State loser.
D&E, led by Matt Moceri's 3-for-5, two-RBI performance, finished 26-20.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.