Trinity University scored 11 runs in the first three innings Monday night to easily beat the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse at the NCAA III Baseball Championships in Appleton.
The 16-6 loss is the first for the Eagles (35-14) in the tournament and sets up a winner-take-all elimination game Tuesday for the right to meet SUNY Cortland in the National Championship finals.
After taking leads in its first two games of the tournament, UW-L fell behind early after Drew Butler homered to left field in the top of the 1st to make it 2-0 Tigers.
There was more trouble in the 2nd, as Trinity scored four times, started by a Jose Santos infield single in which he beat Troy Kenkel to the bag by sliding head first. He scored two batters later on a Nick Jewett single. Connor Moore added a 2-run triple to make it 5-0.
Trinity scored five more runs in the third inning in part to two UW-L errors. Moore singled to center, driving in a pair, then advanced to third on a throwing error, clearing the bases to make it 10-1.
Center fielder Bryce Barsness was removed from the game in the top of the third inning after tweaking his ankle while making a catch. He stayed in the game for a few minutes after the play occurred, but was later relieved by Alex Brown during a pitching change.
Justin Anderson was the bright spot for the Eagles, finishing with three hits and two runs scored. He hit a towering home run to left field in the 5th.
Michael Knutson drove in a pair in the bottom of the 9th to make it 16-6.
The same two teams will play Tuesday at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium at 11 a.m. The winner advances to face SUNY Cortland in the National Championship best-of-3-games series.