Zdunich makes his mark in record-setting contest

May 28—It'd be easier to name all the records that weren't broken in the 2024 Avista NAIA World Series game between Reinhardt and Arizona Christian on Monday at Harris Field.

The No. 5 Eagles beat the ninth-seeded Firestorm 30-13 and broke the record for combined runs scored, hits (27), RBI (29) and home runs (nine) by a team in a single Series game. There were also a slew of combined game records that were tied or broken.

Reinhardt's senior right fielder Tucker Zdunich can take some credit for a lot of those records.

The Alberta, Canada, product went 6-for-7 at the plate with three home runs, nine RBI and was one hit away from the cycle — he had the three long balls, a triple and two singles. Zdunich was one RBI from tying the single-game Series record set by Nebraska-Omaha's Larry Kozeny (10) in 1959.

"Tucker's our guy, he's been an All-American, hoping that he is again this year," Reinhardt coach Jonathan Burton said. "But he's so special to our team, he has been for three years. He's led us in so many different ways. ... What Tucker did here was special. I don't know if I've seen that happen from one individual — see him get on fire like that. But I hope it stays that way because it's going to help us."

Zdunich reached 20 home runs on the season, joining teammate Dylan Lewis (23), who hit two of his own on Monday, in the 20-plus club. The Eagles' offense has been one of the most prolific in the country this year. After Monday's performance, they tied with Kansas Wesleyan for third-most RBI in the country (531).

And, once again, Zdunich can take a lot of credit for that. His 20 home runs is a career high for the senior. He tied his previous career high of 17 going into Monday. Zdunich on Monday also tied his single-game career high for home runs and set new single-game marks in hits and RBI.

"It just worked out today," Zdunich said. "I've been feeling pretty good at the plate and seeing it well and it just worked out today."

Reinhardt is now one of two teams in the driver's seat in the World Series. The Eagles and *Georgia Gwinnett/Tennessee Wesleyan* are the two undefeated teams remaining and will play at 6:35 p.m. today. The winner of that game will be the last undefeated team remaining in the final field of four.

Reinhardt is averaging 18.5 runs a game in the Series and Zdunich has hit four home runs over that span. The Eagles' offense, and Zdunich, is rolling right now. And Reinhardt will look to carry that momentum through the last three (or four) days of the World Series.

"We've had a strong offense all year," Zdunich said. "And coming into this game against Arizona Christian, they're a really offensive team so we knew we had to get it going today and get it started early. And we kept it going all game. ... Our goal is to get to the final four and adjust from there. We're really happy with where we're at right now. We came off a good start and we just need to keep it going. ... This year I feel like we've really matured and I feel like we're going to have a lot of special things happen."

Kowatsch can be contacted at 208-848-2268, or on Twitter @Teren_Kowatsch