|Area of Distinction:||Baseball|
The 1999 Battling Bishop Baseball Team secured the program's second Division III National Championship with a thrilling 1-0 win over St. Thomas on June 1, 1999 in Salem, Virginia. The victory remains the only 1-0 championship win in the history of Division III baseball.
Making their 11th overall and 3rd straight World Series appearance, the Bishops put together the most successful NCAA tournament run in school history by winning eight straight games to clinch the title. NCWC opened with wins over Brandeis and Cal-Lutheran, while game three saw NCWC face off against St. Thomas for a chance to play for the title.
St. Thomas jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but Wesleyan's bats exploded in the bottom of the fifth with six hits in a row to cut the lead to 5-4. Closer Buddy Hernandez entered the game in the bottom of the seventh with runners on second and third with no outs. Hernandez forced a short popup to center, and after an intentional walk to load the bases, he reached back to strike out the next two batters.
The momentum carried over as Jeremy Stewart homered in the bottom of the seventh to complete the comeback. The game remained tied at 5-5 until the bottom of the tenth when Stewart singled and moved to second on a David Capobianco sac-bunt. Barry Blake was intentionally walked to set the stage for Nick Buonocore, whose RBI-single to right scored Stewart and advanced NCWC to the title game.
Wesleyan would again meet St. Thomas the championship. The Bishops scored what turned out to be the lone run of the game in the top of the first. Scott Robeson's leadoff single was followed by an Andy Jones sac-bunt, and Stewart promptly drove him home with a single up the middle. In an outstanding performance, hurler Sean Fleming made the lone run hold up by allowing just four hits.
In the bottom of the ninth with Hernandez on the mound, St. Thomas loaded the bases with one out. Hernandez proceeded to throw the biggest pitch of his career... a sharp curve that was grounded to Stewart, who started the 5-4-3 double play that ended the game and gave North Carolina Wesleyan its second National Championship and a remarkable 42-9 overall record.
The entire 1999 North Carolina Wesleyan Battling Bishop baseball roster follows:
|Robbie Adams||Tim Autry||Barry Blake||Pat Bullard||Nick Buonocore|
|David Capobianco||Ryan Cramer||Jim Faraci||Russ Fink
||Mike Wilchinski||Taylor Williams
|Head Coach Charlie Long||Assistant Coach Ernie Jones||Assistant Coach Jerry Edwards