By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The West Chester University baseball team returned home on Sunday night as National Champions after rolling through the Division II College World Series, capping the run off with an emphatic 9-0 shutout of Delta State on Saturday night in Cary, North Carolina.
Sophomore right-hander Joe Gunkel went the distance in the clincher, allowing just five hits.
“It’s very surreal.” Gunkel told KYW Newsradio on Monday. “It’s still hard to believe that we are the best team in the nation and we are just trying to enjoy it in anyway that we can.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Joe Gunkel:
The Golden Rams made life easy for Gunkel, getting him five runs in the bottom of the first inning Saturday night. The biggest three outs of the game for him may have come in the second when he kept Delta State off the board, allowing West Chester to maintain the momentum from the big first frame.
“All year our coaches have been telling us on the mound, you want to go out there after we score and shut them down, have a shutdown inning. That kind of just keeps the momentum on our side and doesn’t allow them to feel like they have any chance of making a run back into the game.”
Gunkel’s five-hitter on Saturday came after he went the distance on a one-hit shutout in the opener of the World Series against Chico State. For his efforts, Gunkel was named the tournament MVP.
“It’s an honor to be named MVP of anything, but it’s really just a team effort throughout that whole tournament. I only pitched two games, but it was up to the rest of the guys and the rest of the pitchers to get us there. I mean the offense scored nine runs (Saturday night) and the defense made 25 of the outs, so really none of the credit should go to me at all.”
West Chester went a perfect 8-0 through the NCAA Tournament and College World Series. They finish the 2012 season 46-10. The 46 wins tie the school record originally set in 2009.
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